Bears donation brings funding boost to Oxfam at Ambleside

The Westmorland Gazette: From left, Viv Burlison, Kath Savage and Linda Bradshaw at Oxfam at Ambleside From left, Viv Burlison, Kath Savage and Linda Bradshaw at Oxfam at Ambleside

AN EXTRAORDINARY donation from the wife of a celebrated Cumbrian author has raised £12,000 to aid a charity’s work in Syria and the Philippines.

Earlier this year the Gazette reported how former Graythwaite resident Anne Wyatt left the entire contents of her house, including a silver Suzuki Splash car and more than 60 Steiff teddy bears, to the Oxfam shop in Ambleside.

Mrs Wyatt, whose late partner was the author and first national park ranger John Wyatt, also left Oxfam hundreds of other teddy bears, dolls’ houses and other possesions from her house when she died.

It has taken months for volunteers from the shop to sort through the items, valuing and identifying each teddy bear.

Ambleside Oxfam manager Chris Lane said: “It’s been incredible how much interest we have had. We knew that the items would raise a lot of money but we thought it would be more long term, not as sudden as it has been.

“Just last week there was a queue outside the door before the shop had even opened and we have had phone calls from collectors from around the country.

“The teddy bears have been creating the most attention but the dolls’ houses have also been hugely popular.”

Collectors of the Steiff teddy bear have expressed a huge interest in the soft toys, with bear prices ranging from £18 up to £400.

Steiff is a German-based toy company known for its high quality and was founded by Margarete Steiff in 1880. Its popularity grew after the company created the teddy bear in 1902 and remains a sought-after toy to this day.

“So far, the items sold have made an impressive £12,000 and we hope to raise up to £30,000 once all the items have been sold,” said Mr Lane.

There are still plenty of collectable pieces, teddy bears, bric-a-bracs and the Suzuki Splash up for grabs.

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