This is Susan’s story: “In 1965, when I was two, my Grandad gave me a present. It was Sammy, a little panda! Very soon afterwards, Sammy and I set off on a long journey: we emigrated to Australia with my family! We sailed through the Mediterranean, the Suez Canal, the Indian Ocean, and finally arrived in Australia.
Sammy’s little friend Koala arrived three years later, when I was five. We were in Sydney, waiting to get a ship to England, because we were moving back. I only have flashes of memory of my time in Australia, because I was so young, but I do remember getting Koala just before I boarded ship! Koala and Sammy came back to England with us via New Zealand and the Panama canal, spending 5 weeks onboard. The two of them have been together ever since.
Settling back into life in England was difficult for me: it was so different to Australia! Our industrial mining and mill town seemed very cold, dark and strange, and was full of people that I didn’t know. I remember Sammy and Koala being with me, linking my old life with my new one. They are still my treasures. After 57 years of cuddles, Sammy needed a clean and a few repairs, so he went to Leith Toy Hospital. Now he is back, I plan to cuddle my treasures often.”