An Eaton Bray family, who lost their mother and wife to cancer, held a special Teddy Bears’ Picnic in her memory, before donating the bears to Great Ormond Street.
Anna Kichenside, 37, lost her mum Sue, 69, in September, after a brave five-month battle with lung cancer that spread to her brain.
Sue, “who lived for her family”, along with husband Brian, 74, collected teddy bears over the years, and at Christmas, Brian would create cards with bears on to send to family and friends.
Anna said: “As the family grew, so did the number of teddies on the Christmas cards. First by adding the family dog, then my brother, then my twin sister and I, all represented by teddy bears.
“Because of this and my parents’ love of teddies, dad wanted to hold a holistic service for mum, which is what she wanted, but asked that it be a celebration of life.
“And what else did my mum love, but always a cup of tea. So, we held the service in a beautiful hotel suite, and asked everyone to buy and bring along a teddy representing their relationship with mum for afternoon tea.”
On Friday, the family donated the 60 bears to help poorly children at Great Ormond Street Hospital, showing that “something good can come out of something so terribly sad”.
Each bear was labelled with: ‘Enjoy your new teddy…With love from Sue to you xx’.
Brian, a retired art director, and Sue, who was a copywriter, met at the London Progressive Advertising Agency in 1969.
They were married for 47 years and had moved into their “dream home”, a barn conversion in Eaton Bray, around two years ago.
Sadly, the family had suffered another heartache when they said goodbye to their treasured family pet, sausage dog Millie, in 2018, while at the same time as her wedding anniversary in March this year, Sue started coughing up blood and found out the news.
For the ceremony, Anna bought a traditional teddy bear in honour of Teddy Robinson and her mother’s love of reading.
Anna added: “My best friend Reuben, a sax player, played Teddy Bears’ Picnic and welcomed everyone into the ceremony. He also gave a graduation bear, because my Mum had helped him with his English exams at GCSE.”
Meanwhile, Sue’s grandson, Elliot, gave a pirate bear to remember their times playing games together, and Jude, Sue’s younger sister, gave a bear dressed in a Luton football shirt (the team Jude’s family supports).
If you would like to donate a teddy to GOSH for Sue, email: firstname.lastname@example.org