A CHARITY is looking to trace tens of thousands of teddy bears gifted to children in Oxfordshire hospitals.

The county branch of Teddies for Loving Care (TLC) is inviting former patients, who have received one of their toys, to get in touch with them for a special upcoming project.

The charity revealed that over the last 20 years nearly 20,000 bears have been given to children in local hospitals.

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Recipients are now being invited to the Witney Carnival on Saturday, July 10, where they can show off their hospital helpers and be in the chance to win a number of exciting prizes, including a large cuddly teddy and a limited edition NHS teddy pin badge.

A hospital visit can be a frightening experience for a young child, especially in an emergency situation.

TLC is a way of providing much-needed comfort to the young patients, helping to reduce the shock and distress of their experience.

Every child that receives a teddy also gets to take it home.

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In Oxfordshire, for the 15 years up to 2019 the charity gave the John Radcliffe A&E at least 1,000 bears every year.

Since last year, it also began donating to the JR, alongside Horton A&E’s and general ward, and Minor Injury Units at smaller hospitals and doctor’s surgeries across the county.

In the past 18 months, more than 3,000 bears have been gifted to these departments.

Roger Hampshire, local representative of TLC, commented on the process of gifting and next month's event: "The decision to supply a teddy to a child is solely down to the nursing staff.

"We have many reports from grateful parents and nursing staff of how a teddy bear has helped calm down a child, or the teddy has been used to show what treatment needs to be done and how brave the teddies are.

"On Saturday, July 10, is the Witney carnival and the Freemasons who pay for the teddy bears and distribute them will be at the carnival along with some NHS staff showing the public the benefits of the Teddies for Loving Care campaign.

"I would like you to help us trace some of the nearly 20,000 children who over the last 20 years were given a teddy in hospital and invite them to the carnival where they can be entered into a draw to receive many prizes."