Mystery knitter creates 29 teddy bears to depict Porlock's coronavirus heroes

Porlock mystery knitted teddies.
The mystery teddy bear-knitter has depicted carers, NHS staff, volunteers and business owners in Porlock Credit: ITV News West Country

A mystery knitter has made 29 teddy bears to give to people in Porlock as a thank you for their help during the coronavirus pandemic.

Each bear depicts a different role, business or individual from the community in the village in Exmoor National Park. 

The bears include firefighters, police officers, Royal Mail staff, carers, butchers and rubbish collectors.

The mystery knitter said they wanted to 'show appreciation for everything that has been and is still being done to keep us positive' Credit: ITV News West Country

They have been distributed to people across the village, complete with a certificate and note from the person who created them.

"Early in lockdown a friend emailed to ask if I could make a Covid Teddy for her to give to a Key NHS worker," the note said.

"I love the community spirit that brings the village together. The list of services, organisations, businesses and volunteers that were prepared to keep the wheels of the Vale turning inspired me to show my appreciation for everything that has been and is still being done to keep us positive in this ongoing situation.

"I discovered I had lots of oddments of yarn and wondered if the teddy pattern could be adjusted to highlight the work done by other key workers."

Teddy bears have been made to depict carers, NHS staff, shop workers and many other roles in Porlock Credit: ITV News West Country
The bears were gathered at Porlock Visitor Centre before being distributed around the village Credit: ITV News West Country

The distribution of the bears was coordinated by Porlock Visitor Centre manager Deborah Stanyon, who said: “I was absolutely gobsmacked that somebody had taken the trouble to knit 29 bears to depict our community.

“It’s just that really feel-good factor that we belong to this community. It’s a lovely feeling to be part of Porlock.”

Porlock town crier Grant Dennis received a bear for his voluntary work helping older residents Credit: ITV News West Country

One of the people who received a bear was town crier Grant Dennis. During the lockdown, Grant went shopping for shielding villages, picked up medication and conducted cries from his garden via a loudspeaker.

He said of the bear: “I think he looks better than I do! I’m just trying to figure out how I can incorporate him into my livery so he gets out and about as well!”

Local businesses including butchers, tea rooms and the village's hardware store (pictured) were also given bears Credit: ITV News West Country

Co-owner of Porlock Home & Hardware, Chris De Vere Hunt, was also given a bear to thank her and her team for staying open through the crisis.

She said: “I’m so touched! We were so anxious at the beginning of the lockdown that we would be closed and, actually, we were so busy.

“It was a good time to be part of this community - to see just how important the community is to us all here.”

Many of the village's volunteers were recognised with a bear, including Clare Gladstone Credit: ITV News West Country

Clare Gladstone helped with Porlock’s telephone helpline during the lockdown, which matched people in need with volunteers.

“We’ve been here eight years and everyone’s so welcoming, everyone helps each other,” she said.

“It’s just such a nice place to live. Everyone just comes together - it’s a fantastic community.”

The chair of Porlock Parish Council said the village had 'reacted in an outstanding manner' to the lockdown Credit: ITV News West Country

Malcolm McCoy received a bear on behalf of Porlock Parish Council. He said: “The way everyone in Porlock reacted was great because they realised that this was something we’d never experienced before.

“We’d had foot and mouth in 2000 but this one was worldwide and nationwide and I think Porlock reacted in an outstanding manner.”