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Trauma Teddies: Can you help Lambton’s Red Cross?

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Since they were first tasked with calming children being rushed to hospital in the back of an  ambulance in 1990, Red Cross Trauma Teddies have wiped the tears of more than one million Australian children in crisis.

Standing just 32cm tall, the colourful hand-knitted smiling bears have also become family members in homes across the Hunter.

But, without more volunteers, the ladies from Australian Red Cross Lambton say they may have to hang up their knitting needles.

“There are 12 of us and we’re all in our 70s and 80s now,” says Hunter coordinator of Trauma Teddies Dianne Hellyer.

“We need more volunteers to help us keep up with demand.”

Ms Hellyer and her team assemble hundreds of trauma teddies each year.

They are part of 75 nation-wide groups who sew and distribute more than 50,000 annually.

The bears are then sent to soothe children fleeing summer bushfires, being welcomed as refugees, speeding to hospital in an ambulance, greeting post-operative youngsters, or offering a friendly face at a lonely time.

“We deliver to Fire, Police and Ambulance services,  Laverty Pathology, Douglass Hanly Moir Pathology, Lingard Private Hospital, Newcastle Private Hospital and a few eye doctors and hearing doctors, anywhere a child might need a little friend,” Ms Hellyer said.

“We go as far as Singleton, to Nelson Bay and Newcastle.

“It would be such a shame if we couldn’t keep up with it all.”

The group also began producing twiddle muffs this year. 

“They’re knitted muffs with items attached to keep dementia patients’ hands active and busy,” Ms Hellyer told Newcastle Weekly.

“They’re known to offer sensory stimulation, and they keep their hands snug and warm at the same time.” 

Ms Hellyer and her team are also planning to host knitting lessons each Monday beginning next month.

“Any age is welcome. The more the merrier. We’ll just wait for school to go back so we can get the busy mums and grandmothers back.”

Trauma Teddies are created and quality-controlled using a Red Cross pattern.

To find out more about knitting lessons call Diane Hellyer on 0429 380 999.

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