If you go down to the Garden today

Shanklea Primary School at the teddy bears' picnic in The Alnwick Garden. Picture by The Bigger Picture Agency
Shanklea Primary School at the teddy bears' picnic in The Alnwick Garden. Picture by The Bigger Picture Agency

Hundreds of children enjoyed a teddy bears’ picnic, thanks to Northumberland Freemasons.

Youngsters from Shanklea Primary School, Cramlington, joined others from schools all over Northumberland and Newcastle for the event at The Alnwick Garden.

It was part of celebrations to mark the 300th anniversary of the United Grand Lodge of England, as part of which Northumberland Freemasons gave away £300,000 to local charities.

The event, hosted by Masonic charity Teddies for Loving Care, featured a teddy bear trail, picnic box and entertainment. A teddy bear was given to every child.

The teddy bears’ picnic was coordinated by Freemason Dennis Frazer, helped by several members of Masonic Lodges and Northumberland Scouts. A £10,000 cheque was presented to the Duchess of Northumberland for her chosen charities.

Dennis said: ““The event highlighted the fact that Freemasons have donated more than two million bears to children who are attending hospitals and A&E units. Medical staff use the bears to befriend the children, to reward them for being brave and in some cases to demonstrate what they are going to do. It’s a great charity doing a lot of good work and it’s great to show the people of Northumberland what we do.”

Ian Craigs, Provincial Grand Master for Northumberland, was delighted with the picnic.

He said: “I’m very proud of the work that the TLC does to help children when they are experiencing trauma in their lives. The simple gesture of giving a teddy to a distressed child helps to reassure them and allows medical staff to carry out their vital work more effectively.

“Our teddy bears’ picnic has made more people aware of the good work of the TLC and Freemasonry in the community so that we can help many more children at a time when they need us most.”