East Kent Provincial News 2014

A TLC Volunteer’s Tale

Teddies for Loving Care – A Volunteer’s Tale

Peter Downs WLPeter Downs

Brother Peter Downs of Balmoral Lodge No 7118 is one of the many volunteers that help Teddies for Loving Care (TLC) East Kent – the charity, run by East Kent Freemasons, that provides teddy bears to children in hospital accident units. One of his roles is to deliver boxes of TLC teddy bears to Maidstone Hospital.

In his “day job” he is a window cleaner and gets to meet many people but, for the third year running at Christmas-time, a lady gave Peter a £10 donation for TLC. The lady knew Peter was a Freemason associated with TLC and Peter asked for her name in order that she could be sent a receipt. The lady said “your thanks is enough” then told him a story which Peter described below.

About 60 years ago, the lady and her husband went to a children’s home on Christmas day; they were going to adopt a little girl, as they couldn’t have children of their own. On arriving at the home, the manageress asked if the husband could be Father Christmas, as they had been let down by the man who was going to do it. Chuckling with the thought, her husband agreed to help and set off with a sack full of goodies. He didn’t know it at the time but a young lad, about 7 years old, had been left at the home on Christmas Eve and, fortunately, the home had managed to get some presents for him.

As the lady's husband went over to the young lad to give him a present, the boy looked up at him with a great big grin on his face and said “Father Christmas, how did you know I was here?

Santa replied “I know where all children are all over the world”. The lady said she looked at her husband and could see a tear rolling down his face, as he gave the young lad a gift.

The boy, who came in to the home with just an old teddy bear, said to her husband: “Would you like my teddy as a gift?” ......well, you can imagine the effect that had on the lady and her husband.  

The lady said: “The picture of that young boy with his teddy and what he did has stayed with me for the past 60 years or so and that is why I like to give to the TLC as I hope all the teddies you give help the little kiddies and makes them as happy as it did me and my husband”.

Peter went on to say: “I thought this was such a heart-warming story of something that happened so long ago but, knowing that TLC are doing such a great job, her donations help her to get by from day to day.”  Peter went on to wonder about what happened to that boy and his teddy.

This heart-warming tale is a salutary reminder of the benefits that teddy bears bring to children in accident and emergency units and of the good work carried out by the TLC (East Kent) charity and its volunteers.