By Lucy Notarantonio
An Irish grandmother-of-two has kept her grandson entertained from afar by taking his favourite teddy bear on daily adventures.
Stella Williams, 65, who lives in Bergerac, France, keeps in touch with three-year-old Torin via Face time.
But the retired lecturer decided to step it up by taking a series of photos which show the brown bear relaxing by the pool, carrying out some chores and even driving a lawn mower tractor.
Torin, from Antrim, Northern Ireland, loved the adventures so much – Stella created a book.
She is sharing her story to give other grandparents inspiration on how to keep in touch with their loved ones during lock down.
She said: “Torin stays with us for two weeks, every six months and he has a fantastic imagination – he climbs up into his tree house and pretends there’s a bear who lives in the woods.
“I miss him dearly when he goes but as I have a lot of spare time on my hands, I thought of a different way to keep him entertained when he isn’t here.
“My husband Phil, 71, and I had a good chuckle when we were posing the bear up in different scenarios.
“Smiley Bear can be seen climbing the tree house, sat on a bicycle, basking in the sun and relaxing by the pool with Torin’s life jacket on.
“We also had Smiley Bear earning his keep by doing a bit of painting and even mowing the lawn!
“I sent them all with captions for my daughter Emily, 38, to show him and he said ‘I told you there’s a bear’ to his mummy.
“He was over the moon with the photos so I decided to create a picture book online so he can keep it forever.”
But this isn’t the first time Stella has got creative – she previously sent a series of post cards to her grandson from the bear he lost.
She said: “He was gutted when he lost his favourite bear, so I sent weekly post cards from the ‘bear’ and his friends who were ‘on holiday’.
“This made him less sad about the loss as he looked forward to hearing more about what his bear is up to.
“Eventually he found the bear so I sent one last post card from his ‘friends’ to say how much of a ball they had.
“It is difficult knowing I won’t see Torin or his sister Erin, one, any time soon but I try not to dwell on it.
“We are all in the same boat which makes it a little easier.”