Ready, teddy, go for Higham Ferrers as pupils cuddle up with well-being bears

For children missing their friends and school the bears are a link to their community

By Alison Bagley
Thursday, 18th February 2021, 10:34 am

Pupils at a Higham Ferrers school have been given a mental health boost with a donation of a special soft toy to keep them company while they are away from the classroom.

Each child at Henry Chichele Primary School has been gifted a teddy, with each brown furry bear wearing a bespoke 'Henry's Friends' t-shirt, named after the organisation that donated them.

With many children not being able to see their friends or teachers in person, the parents' group Henry's Friends wanted to give every pupil a cuddly toy to provide comfort during lockdown.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

Monica and Grace with their Henry bears

Ebony Tobin, chairman of Henry’s Friends, said: "Henry’s Friends is a charitable organisation and we organise events and raise funds on behalf of Henry Chichele Primary School in Higham Ferrers.

"With children's mental health week in the forefront of our minds, we really wanted to do something to give the children a little pick me up during this tough lockdown.

"The pupils are all missing their friends and teachers and the school is missing them too, so the idea of ‘Henry the Bear’ was created.

"A cuddly teddy bear for each and every pupil, to let the children know that we are thinking of them, and to give them a little comfort until everyone is back together at school again.

Hello Henry

"The children were really excited and there were lots of happy, smiling faces, which is exactly what we wanted to see.

"Both my children Scarlet, age eleven, and Oscar in Year 2 love their bears and Oscar's has been attached to his hip."

Organisers handed out the bears at a socially-distanced handover in the school grounds, with each year group being given a timed slot for collections.

The bears were supplied for free to pupils, funded by Henry’s Friends - the PTA for the school - an initiative for the children to enjoy.

Scott Dainty, headteacher of Henry Chichele Primary School, said: "The idea to give all of our children a gift to remind them that they belong within our community was lovely and very timely given our recognition of mental health awareness day.

"It was a delight to see the children as they left school with their bear in their arms and a huge smile across their faces.

"We know this time is difficult for everyone, but we really are all in this together. Huge thanks to Henry’s Friends for their kindness and consideration to all."