Facebook campaign delivers bear essentials for refugee children

A campaign launched in Sheffield five days ago to encourage youngsters to donate their teddies to refugee children has gone international.

Joy French, who set up the Project Paddington campaign after seeing photographs of three-year-old Aylan Kurdi drowned on a Turkish beach, thought her Facebook initiative would be a small-scale venture in Sheffield, where she lives.

Ms French, 39, said more than 4,000 people have joined the group, scores of schools have got involved, 30 regional co-ordinators have volunteered to collect the teddies across the UK and people have pledged support from as far away as the United States, Dubai and New Zealand.

She said the basic idea was to for children to give their teddies with welcome messages attached to those who have fled the war in Syria, and youngsters have been posting pictures of their donations and messages on the Project Paddington Facebook group.

The growing team of volunteers is also now collecting money from people who are sponsoring the bears and the latest development is a plan to launch an ice bucket challenge-style "bear selfie" viral campaign.

Ms French said her volunteers are talking to various organisations about how to get the teddies to refugee camps in Jordan.

You can find out more by following Project Paddington on Twitter.