Most people have heard of the Teddy Bear, named after famed U.S President Theodore Roosevelt. But have you heard of a Teddy Bear called Hopsy? In Hopsy The Handybear, author Claire Ollerton continues her series on the beloved character. With Hopsy The Handybear, Ollerton, a retired schoolteacher in England now living in Scotland, has produced nearly 100 books since she started writing for all ages in 1972.
In Hopsy The Handybear the reader will join the lovable bear in baking, gardening, and caring for people. All the money raised with the purchase of Hopsy The Handybear will go towards the purchase of teddy bears, donated to traumatized children locally and overseas.
I reach out to Ms. Ollerton to learn more about Hopsy the bear.
What was your initial inspiration for the character?
“I had been donating Teddy Bears to traumatized children for a long time and I had a bad fall which caused me to be admitted as an emergency at Dumfries & Galloway Royal Infirmary where I was kept in under observation for a few days. I had with me one of the bears that I usually donated to the hospital, as I had been enroute to fundraise for more bears via the sales of my books. Needless to say, the bear found its way to their children’s unit. I was required to keep quiet so that I would recover. In a flash of inspiration from the LORD came the idea for the series of books on the bear. Why don’t you write a story about him, I thought? Though I only had a pen, the Lord provided a piece of paper towel and I started.
In the story the bear had a fall and ended up in hospital! I was going to call him Hospy but it wasn’t right so changing the letters around he became Hopsy. Since then he has got another name, Samuel, and a family called the McBruins. So, he is called Hopsy Samuel McBruin. Last year, in 2019, the first book ‘Hopsy’ was written and published.”
What was the idea behind providing teddy bears for children?
“Many years ago I belonged to a Teddy Bear collector’s club called ‘Good Bears of the World’ which no longer has a branch in the UK. I was doing craft work involving my first bear and writing books about him and I was able to sell them through contact with the other members and especially at two of their major craft fairs. They had a charitable arm which supplied teddies to disadvantaged children but only in a limited way.
“One day the Lord prompted me to go and buy a teddy from a local toy shop and take it to my local hospital, so I did. The Sister in charge of the ward wasn’t there when I went but a nurse took it. I emphasized to the nurse that it was to be given to the most ill child in the ward. A few days later I received a phone call: ‘I’m Sister Snow, my husband used to teach you history. I’ve called about the Bear.’
I asked if there was anything wrong with the bear.
‘Oh no, we placed in the arms of one of our little patients who had been in a coma for more than three weeks and one of my nurses saw her arm suddenly move and she opened her eyes and said, ‘Teddy.’ A miracle had occurred.”
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SOURCE: Assist News, Brian Nixon