Army of teddies take to Caol windows to cheer up youngsters during lockdown

One of the three winners, Ellie Clarihew, from Lochyside was delighted with her prize. Photograph: Abrightside Photography. NO F21 Teddy bear hunt winner Ellie
One of the three winners, Ellie Clarihew, from Lochyside was delighted with her prize. Photograph: Iain Ferguson, alba.photos. NO F21 Teddy bear hunt winner Ellie

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More than 200 teddy bears of all shapes and sizes appeared in the windows of homes across Caol recently for a competition designed to boost the spirits of local youngsters as the coronavirus lockdown continues.

The event was dreamed up by humanist celebrant and retired paramedic, Alyson Stewart, who felt she needed to do something to help younger residents focus on something fun.

She explained: ‘When lockdown started it was a hard time for all. It was an alien world from what we had always known and very difficult to comprehend what was going on as this deadly virus is hidden.

‘There was nothing visible to see or touch or hold, only terrible news feeds telling of the deaths worldwide. It was so difficult for adults but I felt for the children – how on earth would their wee minds take it all in?

‘Because of lockdown and being restricted in movement they could only go out on walks or cycles for exercise, so I saw on the internet a place that had rainbows in the windows of their homes and thought that perhaps little teddies would be nice for the kids to try and spot.’

Each bear was given a number and the children took down the numbers and address of the house where they saw them and sent them in to Alyson.

‘I had a huge response and over 216 people popped teddies in their windows of all descriptions. Some big some small, some cute, some scary and the kids loved them all,’ she added.

‘The winners spotted an amazing 65 teddies and the runner-up was not far behind. So many wee ones enjoyed it so much. It was all down to all those people who took part, as without them there would have been no teddy hunt.

‘Many had no children of their own but loved to see the kids outside taking the numbers down and giving them all a wave and a smile. I have had wonderful messages from two separate ladies about how it was the highlight of their last five weeks as they lived alone, having the kids walk past and stop.’

The three overall winners were sisters, Caira Grieve and Jessica Grieve- McCaffrey, from Caol, and Ellie Clarihew, of Lochyside. Alyson bought them all teddies and Caol Community Council donated three special Easter eggs.

No-F21-Teddy-bear-hunt-winners-Caira-Jessica-scaled.jpg
Sisters Caira Grieve and Jessica Grieve-McCaffrey, from Caol. Photograph: Iain Ferguson, alba.photos.

And Alyson said she has a new challenge under way in the form of a painting /drawing challenge focusing on animals, insects and birds, and open to both adults and children.

Alyson told us: ‘Morrison’s has very kindly offered to support for this challenge and provide some prizes for the winners.

‘If any other people would like to donate towards prizes it is most welcome and I can then make sure that everyone who enters gets a small something in return.

‘Thanks to all who are supporting and participating in trying to keep our wee ones occupied. They get a massive clap from me on a Thursday night as all these little people are doing so well.’