In 1957, my dad was on National Service in Cyprus. He was given compassionate leave to come home when I was born. He brought me a very special present: a little teddy, which contained a musical box that played the tune ‘Mary had a little lamb’. Teddy cost £5, which was a lot of money in those days. The shop owner let him pay off a little each week, so dad was able to afford him. My first clear memory of Teddy is winding him up all by myself when I was 5: my mum was Mary, and I was her little lamb. I remember some of my other favourite childhood toys too. I had a wonderful Silver Cross twin pram and twin dolls who I called Scott and Gary. When I outgrew this it was crated up and sent to my cousins in Zambia; they enjoyed it for many years, taking it to Canada when they moved. Teddy has been to Canada too: he came with my husband and I when we emigrated to Canada in 1977. We were very homesick, so we all came back home to the UK in 1978. Teddy has always been a constant in my life and just looking at him brings back happy memories. I now have great pleasure watching my grandchildren’s faces when they play with Teddy, although they are only allowed to hold him when I am with them.I have always been very careful with Teddy. When I was a child, he always sat safely on a shelf above my bed. I often took him down for cuddles, but I always felt he was very special, so no-one else was allowed to play with him. That’s probably why he is still in great condition. Many years ago a family friend who makes teddy bears repaired his nose and ear, and that is all the repair he has needed. Unfortunately, his music box stopped working recently, so I sent him to the toy hospital. He looks amazing now. His music box is playing again and he has had a clean. Sadly, ‘Mary had a little lamb’ is no longer available, so he now plays ‘When you wish upon a star’.
He is very precious to me because my dad bought him and sacrificed some of his wages every week to buy him for me. My dad is no longer with us, so Teddy is even more important to me. His story will be passed on to my grandchildren and I hope he stays in the family forever. Thank you so much to everyone at Leith Toy Hospital for taking such amazing care of Teddy.