These trashed toys make an un-BEAR-lievable recovery thanks to an incredible woman who runs one of the world’s best teddy HOSPITALS.
Kay Cooper, who runs copper bears, in Perth, Western Australia, has been helping stitch back together teddies from all over Australia and the world for the past two years.
What started as a small concern now sees Kay treat more than 100 bears a year and demand for her services keeps growing as more see her amazing work.
Bears Kay repairs can range from over 80 years old, to around the mid-40s, and she also repairs modern children’s bears too. And while a child waits for their bear to be fixed they are given an ‘orphaned’ bear to look after.
Kay said it is mostly adults who bring her the teddies because they want to restore their childhood friend and she always has tissues on hand as owners often burst into tears when they see their furry friend mended.
Operations Kay performs on the teddies can range from leg and arm transplants, skin grafts and re-stuffing to replacing the ‘growler’ – a device inside the bear that makes a noise. Each bear can take eight hours or more to restore to its former glory.
As these pictures show the results of Kay’s handiwork are incredible as each bear she treats goes from being a tired teddy to a beaming bear.
Kay, who runs her business with husband Brian, said: “I have loads of boxes of tissues because as soon as someone sees their bear repaired, they cry, they all say they’re not going to, but they do.
“I’ve had some lovely things happen, I had a farmer’s wife bring in her mother’s bear and she was all like ‘I’m pretty tough, I’ll be fine’. But when she came to collect the bear she just fell to pieces crying.
“She took the bear home to her uncle, because her mother had passed, and she told me he burst into tears because he could remember stealing the bear from his sister.
“It’s kind of nice to give somebody get back an old friend that has been there through their life.
“I make sure I don’t interfere too much with the bears too much making them looking too new, because some of the wear and tear is part of the bears journey and who they are.”
Kay said she doesn’t advertise widely because it is just her running the hospital but her word of her talents is spreading fast with bears now coming from the UK and all over Australia.
She said: “At the moment I am getting two a week, so 52 weeks in a year, I am doing about a 100. They are coming from all over Australia now, the second bear I did the lady was from Sydney. I know lots of the doll hospitals and things have disappeared.
“It’s always adults that bring me the older bears, when kids bring me their bears that’s a different kettle of fish because most of those of them are more modern toys and they’ve lost an eye or the dog has had much too much fun with them
“I try and get the kids dolls done in the same day, because you can’t leave a kid without their bear. But when I decided to make this a hospital and I put a sign on the door people kept giving me their old bears because they were going to throw them away.
“I couldn’t bear the thought of bears being thrown in the bin so this is actually a teddy bear hospital and orphanage, so we tend to give a child one of the orphan bears to look after until their bear is repaired.
“Sometimes they are happy to bring the orphan back and hand them back to me and other times they kind of fall in love again with the new bear so that’s fine too.
“I also have a charity that I help called ‘Good Bears of the World’ and they put bears into fire engines and ambulances and hospitals and things like that and they’ve made us an official partner in Australia, we’re actually the only partner in Australia
“So the orphan bears people can adopt for the charity and we have them hygienically packed and checked to be child-safe and sent to these hospitals and places.”
Kay, who is originally from England, said a lot of the bears she gets have a history and if they could talk they would probably have a story to tell.
She said: “I had one man bring in his mother’s bear, I think she had escaped from London during the Blitz, and he brought it in to be repaired for her. His mum then passed away three months later and the bear went into the coffin with her.
“Lots of the bears were bought in England, a lot used to be made in Germany, but obviously during the war no one was buying German products and the British were using their own factories for the war effort.
“So Australia started making bears and we have a company called ‘Joy Toys’ and I’m at a point now I can spot where a bear is from, although predominately they come from England.
“It can take eight hours or more to repair each bear, it’s a lot of work because some of them I have to de-assemble them and take them apart so that I can re-assemble them as they were.
“The one I remember that was the most horrendous was a lady in her 50s who brought in her mother’s bear. The face of the bear had completely gone and I had to build the bear back up from the inside out. She had a crochet dress on as well and I had to fix that as well, the dress actually took me longer and that was about 12 hours.
“Most bears, especially from the UK, have growlers in them (the device that makes a noise) so I have to transplant the growlers to repair them. And some of them I have to match as closely as I can to transplant new arms and legs. Sometimes I have to do ‘skin grafts’ and replace the fur and under their skin.”