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Dozens of teddies have been donated for bereaved children accessing Ashgate Hospice’s counselling service following the death of a loved one.  

The generous donation has been made by the Derbyshire Freemasons. Teddies for Loving Care (TLC) is a national Freemasons initiative where millions of teddies are provided to A&E departments to help comfort young children in distress, but the scheme is now being extended to help in other areas such as hospice counselling.  

A total of 72 teddies in six assorted colours were donated to Ashgate and will be used to provide comfort and reduce anxiety experienced by the youngsters following the death of someone close to them. 

Ashgate’s Supportive Care team were at hand to receive the donations outside the charity’s Old Brampton site from TLC representatives, Neil Tomlinson and James Williams. 

Jayne Caesar, Art Psychotherapist at Ashgate, said: “The children’s service we are currently developing looks at emotional support for bereaved children, families and extended families within the community. 

“Using these teddies within this context is such a powerful way to offer connections to loved ones that have died. These are often referred to as ‘comfort’ or ‘transitional objects’, which help to connect the young person more firmly to the memories of their loved ones. 

“The teddies offer a greater sense of security and help to reduce negative feelings such as loneliness and anxiety during this difficult and emotional time.  

“They will be used in workshops that we facilitate within the community and will also be an important part of the memory boxes that the young people and children will make.” 

The local Freemasons group has been a big supporter of the charity in recent years, also making monetary donations totalling more than £10,000. 

Neil Tomlinson, TLC Coordinator for Derbyshire, said: “We wanted to support Ashgate and donate some teddies so they can be given to the bereaved children they support. 

“Our initial donation was a box of 72 teddies, but we’d be more than happy to supply more once this supply runs out. All of our donations are always made free-of-charge. 

“The beauty of the TLC scheme is that by the simple act of providing a friendly cuddly bear we are helping a child in distress. It’s theirs to keep.  

“We’re delighted to be able to support Ashgate Hospice and the families the charity cares for and look forward to working with them in the near future.” 

Right now, Ashgate Hospice is calling for the urgent support of the community as the charity faces another difficult winter due to an increase in COVID-19 cases and winter flu. 

The hospice is asking the community to support its Winter Appeal to help it to get through the difficult months ahead – ensuring the hospice can continue to provide compassionate end of life care at a crucial time and support the wider health system as it did last year.  

To support Ashgate Hospice’s Winter Appeal click here.