I, like many others, spent Saturday washing and waxing my car in preparation for Sunday's Teddy Bear Run. And, like them, my car was filthy again by the time I drove through the tunnel at Goodwood Motor Circuit. Who cares about clean cars though, today was about teddy bears!
2017 marked the 5th anniversary of the annual event organised by Westley Waller and John Rampton in aid of seriously ill children. The entrance fee of £35 pays for your car stickers, a teddy bear to be delivered to the hospice and also a donation to the charity.
Someone insisted on bringing the entire contents of the toy box along for the ride! The collection has grown since last years event, proof that a child can never have enough soft toys!
Westley, John and co were on site super early to welcome cars arriving from 9am, hand out bears and distribute sticker packs. A grey Sunday morning was soon transformed by the arrival of cars of every colour, Christmas jumpers, tinsel and antlers. Lord March had opened the catering wagon up bright and early (not personally but he sent some minions) so there was plenty of tea on hand to warm us up, plus the odd organic sausage or bacon roll, fresh from roaming the south downs.
With all present and correct we lined up on the starting grid for a photo call before setting off for the hospice. The local blood service, who also work with the hospice, were on hand to marshall traffic as we left the motor circuit.
Some how the team managed to fit all 120 cars into the hospice car park for some of the children to come out and enjoy. They were delighted to see that the real Paddington bear had put in an appearance! Famous bear manufacturers Steiff kindly allowed one of their staff members to bring Paddington and two of his larger brother bears along to meet the children, and also donated several bears as raffle prizes.
The day was rounded off nicely with cake, gingerbread and other treats brought along by participants, washed down with more tea, freshly brewed by the hospice staff. Raffle and auction prizes raised even more money for the hospice and included everything from the Steiff bears, to bespoke car artwork and a weekend Mercedes car hire.
Just some of the bears donated to the hospice which will be sent out to sick children across the region.
The run started as a Christmas event but now also has a summer counterpart. In addition to these two main events the organisers also run a regular 'cars and curry' night with proceeds going to seriously ill children. Occasionally they will put a shout out for car owners who may be able to help a sickly child fulfil a dream by riding in their favourite car. Keep an eye on the Teddy Bear Run website and social media pages for details. https://www.teddybearrun.com/
And finally, my favourite photo of the day, the smile says it all!