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Why a woman is finally parting with the teddy bear she has loved for 65 years - 26/07/2017

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It was hard to say goodbye but Gill Burch has finally allowed the teddy bear she has treasured for 65 years - since her first birthday - to go to a new home.

“I missed him last night, though. He wasn’t in his usual chair,” said Gill, 66. “He is the only toy I had kept all my life.”

She decided to say goodbye to her bear, named John David Martin, after meeting celebrity auctioneer Charles Hanson, who she often watches on TV’s Bargain Hunt and Flog it!

“I met Charles at a charity event at The Temple Centre in Nuthall. It was a fundraiser for Nottinghamshire Hospice and Charles and his team from Hansons Auctioneers were doing free valuations, so I took along my bear to see what he was worth.

“Charles seemed to be quite taken with him and my story – especially as I gave the bear my first pair of shoes, which he still wears.”

Sure enough, the cute cuddly toy, without a wrinkle to betray his 65 years, is wearing Gill’s tiny brown leather childhood shoes.

“He used to have a blue suit, too, which was made for him by my childminder, but it disintegrated,” said Gill, from Newthorpe, a volunteer at the Headway charity shop in Eastwood.

“He was given to me on my first birthday by my grandma. I loved him. I never liked dolls so always played with him. I have a photo of me as a child playing with him.

“I called him John David Martin because I just liked the names and I wanted a brother. I was an only child.

“The silky blue suit he wore was made out of an old skirt or dress. I think it protected his fur over the years. I had his paws mended at one time. They were coming apart.

“I decided to let him go to auction with Hansons because, if something happened to me, I wouldn’t want him to be thrown away. Perhaps someone will buy him and love him as much as I have.”

“He has been valued at £50 to £70 so he’s not worth a fortune. But it was lovely to meet Charles, He’s quite a character. I hope Hansons come back to do some valuations again.”

More than 100 people went along to the Nottinghamshire Hospice fundraiser, taking along treasures, paintings and collectibles to be valued by Charles and his team.

Organiser Barbara Parish said: “The event raised £440 for the hospice which is wonderful. Charles and his valuers were a joy to work with and their huge generosity in giving their time completely free of charge to help raise much needed funds was greatly appreciated.

“I am looking forward to organising the next valuation day for the Nottinghamshire Hospice which hopefully will take place in October at the hospice.

Elaine Hopkins, of Nottinghamshire Hospice, added: “It was a fantastic afternoon allowing Nottinghamshire Hospice to be out in the community, whilst raising much needed funds. Our grateful thanks go to all who helped make it such a successful event.”

Charles Hanson said: “It was an honour for us to take part and support such a worthy cause.”

Gill Burch’s teddy bear will go under the hammer at Hansons’ Toys, Models, Live Steam, Cameras and Sporting Memorabilia Auction on Tuesday, August 22. If you can bear to part with your toys, you can consign entries until August 5.  If you want to join forces with Hansons Auctioneers to do a valuation day fundraiser, or would like to arrange a free valuation, please call 01283 733988, email chanson@hansonsauctioneers.co.uk or visit www.hansonsauctioneers.co.uk.

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