A CAMPAIGN to send teddy bears to Ukrainian children has seen over 5,000 toys sent to the Polish border.

Bears for Ukraine was launched by Prudhoe's Catherine Heaton, of Mary's Snowflake Creations.

Nearly 80-years-ago, Catherine's mother-in-law Maria Ellen Steiner fled war-torn, Nazi-occupied Vienna; she arrived in England where she was housed in a hostel for refugees and put to work in the cotton mills of Lancashire. 

Touched by her struggle, Catherine was inspired to help those also fleeing conflict - albeit years later.

READ MORE: https://www.hexham-courant.co.uk/news/20011607.bears-ukraine-campaign-set-marys-snowflake-creations/

Around 5,500 bears, with the poem War Teddies by Abigail Horne, have been sent abroad.

Many haulage companies have now stopped making trips.

Hexham Courant:

"We’ve had bears sent from local schools, private collectors, we’ve had companies collect from customers, as well as buying new and sending them directly to us, and we’ve had people arrive on our doorstep with a much-treasured, family bear that they wanted a child in need to have", said Catherine.

"There have been tears, emotion, hugs, new friends and an unbelievable sense of doing the right thing. We’ve had a social worker, a doctor, and a therapist reinforce the massive psychological importance that our mission would have on children.

"We’ve had messages from people on the ground in Ukraine and Poland, again telling us about the very important role that our bears have played. It’s been absolutely incredible.

"For me personally, it has been one of the most worthwhile things that I’ve ever done!"

Catherine has been helped by a loyal following of volunteers including her husband, Andy, Lisa, Alice, Tracey, Annette, Amy, Marsha, Pete, Nia, Mark and Chris, who along with friends, is due to make a second trip to Poland. To donate, visit: https://www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/new-guard-ukraine?utm_term=yrx4gx7Er&fbclid=IwAR3GsoF-bA7_jpPumPew9XPRxpKxvIfxfEA1nijXQ0uHVFWL0cXPYLEfgs0

Mary's Snowflake Creations make hand-knitted, crocheted items to raise money for the Multiple Sclerosis Society.