Bravery bears cheer up children at Blandford Hospital

6th September 2019

Young patients at Blandford Hospital’s minor injuries unit (MIU) are given a unique reward for being brave – a hand-stitched teddy bear.

This is thanks to local volunteer Barbara Harris, 83, who has created almost 2,000 teddies for children who have been treated for knocks, cuts and bruises over the past 19 years.

Barbara knits every day. It takes her two days to make one bear and she drops off ten bears at a time to the Dorset HealthCare-run hospital, which is just a short walk from her home.

MIU Sister Jill Sheard said: “We are very thankful to Barbara for knitting more than 1,900 bears – what an achievement. The kids absolutely love them and some won’t let the bear leave their side.”

The children get to choose the bear they would like, often going for their favourite colours.

One year-old Matthew picked a blue and white bear when he attended the MIU recently. His mum, Bianca Charalambides, said: “He absolutely adores his bear and is always cuddling it.”

Barbara is delighted that the ‘bravery bears’ have proved so popular for so long. She said: “It is very nice to be thanked by the children, parents and hospital staff. I really enjoy knitting the teddies, especially as they make the children smile. Knitting also keeps me busy and my mind active.”

Barbara buys the wool herself to knit the bears. If you would like to contribute any wool to help her make the teddies, please get in touch with Jill Sheard at Blandford Hospital on 01258 456541 or email

Blandford Hospital is one of 12 community hospitals run by Dorset HealthCare. It was opened in 1891 and development of the current building was completed in 1986. Services currently offered there include minor injuries assessment, surgery, x-ray and physiotherapy.

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