Law lecturer Kathryn Harvey has raised £1,360 for charity after dressing up two teddy bears in her front garden.
But a neighbour donated another bear. Soon, Kathryn, husband Richard, and their two children, Ava, aged 11, and Ethan, aged 10, found themselves spending the lockdown dressing the bears in different outfits every day as their love story has evolved.
The bears, named Divoc and Margie, have now married and are currently on honeymoon.
Kathryn has taken pictures of the different outfits and posted them on Facebook. In the process, she has also raised £1,360 in donations for the Donna Louise Trust, a charity close to her heart.
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Kathryn, from Tidebrook Place, said “It started off as a simple idea. When we were asked to put teddy bears in the windows for the children when they were out for their daily exercise, I thought I would put one in the front garden.
“I started off with one giant bear. We ran a ‘Name the Bear’ competition to get people involved and we had about 60 entrants. The children helped me make a postbox and we put it at the end of the drive and people posted their entries in it.
“The name we picked out was Divoc, which is Covid backwards, which is very apt in the current climate.
“The winner said he did not want a prize and wanted to make a donation and I came up with the idea of doing it for the Donna Louise Trust. I did some voluntary work there a few years ago and it is an amazing place.
“So many charities are struggling in the current climate. I started posting pictures of the bears on Facebook and tagging the Donna Louise Trust and we have raised £1,360 for the hospice through donations.
“We also held a competition to draw a picture of the bear and sent an Amazon gift to the little girl who won.
“A chap further down the road donated another giant bear to us and it just went from there. We turned it into a love story and do a different scene every day.
“They had a hen do and stag do and got married. They are on honeymoon now and today they are swimming with dolphins.
“It is lovely to hear the children laughing. They look to see what the bears are doing each day, which is really nice.
“Each night, before my son goes to bed, we think of bear ideas and we have a few to get through. It would be wonderful if we could raise more money.”
Kathryn’s neighbours have been enjoying the bears and helping out with props for the scenes.
Lorraine Edwards, aged 55, said: “When Kathryn first started it, she was after ideas. She came up with most herself. When she is struggling for props, we help out if we have them.
“Everybody who comes down the street stops and laughs or smiles. It is really nice to watch.
“It has been excellent. Kathryn has made a story come together to make it more entertaining. My husband works for the ambulance service and it has brightened his spirits.”