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Dozens of teddy bears handed over to sick children in the north-east

Ballater pipers and heavies have teamed up to donate cuddly toys to sick children.
Ballater pipers and heavies have teamed up to donate cuddly toys to sick children.

A group of generous pipers and heavies have handed over dozens of teddy bears to a children’s hospital.

Ballater Highland Games and Ballater District Pipe Band teamed-up to raise £816 to pay for 26 cuddly comforters for youngsters who have had surgery for bowel conditions at Royal Aberdeen Children’s Hospital (Rach).

The Buttony Bear project, which is based in the village, was established in 2015 to give children with stomas a furry friend just like them, to help them feel less lonely.

https://www.facebook.com/buttonybears/posts/1091216137705621

The small artificial openings, made for medical reasons, can often prove traumatic for children who undergo the surgery.

The bears have been designed with their own stomas – buttons stitched to their bellies – to mimic the tummies of their owners and provide them with comfort.

Both organisations began fundraising for the bears last year and have, to date, handed over 63 teddies, with each costing about £30 to make.


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Scott Fraser, vice-chairman of the games committee, said the charity was an obvious one to support, given the local connection.

He said: “The money that we raised will stay in the north-east, which is good, and it’s great that local kids will benefit.”

The groups raised the cash through collections at their annual event’s Beat Retreat, where the pipe band performs on the church green in the evening after the games.

Scott Fraser & Robb Cumming on behalf of the Ballater Highland Games Stewards and Ballater & District Pipe Band today…

Posted by A Bear Named Buttony on Friday, 22 March 2019

The committee then held a fancy dress event the following day, where the rest of the cash was raised.

The bear scheme was started by local woman Jenny Gow, whose daughter Eilidh had a congenital bowel condition and received stoma surgery when she was young.

The organisation has handed out more than 2,000 bears to children across the UK since its launch in 2015.

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