Mum-of-two creates keepsake teddy bears from clothing of loved ones who have passed away

·4-min read

A mum-of-two is creating special keepsake teddy bears for those who have lost their loved ones - using the old CLOTHES of the relatives who have passed away.

Hayley Mears, 40, first started making the precious, personal teddy bears after losing both of her own grandmothers last year.

But now, Hayley, from Peterborough, Cambs., is taking requests from people all over the country, some of whom have lost relatives to Covid.

They are sending garments of clothing that belonged to late relatives to her to be turned into a teddy bear.

The requests are from relatives of people of all ages who have died, and just this week she was asked to made a teddy in memory of a mum of two aged just 30 who had died.

Recently she made a teddy bear using a shirt bearing an image of the King of Rock 'n' Roll from an Elvis fan who had died.

She has also used a pretty floral dress from a lady named Francesca who had passed to make a keepsake for her relatives.

Each bear takes Hayley around six hours to complete, and she can make the special cuddly toys out of almost any material, except for silk.

She charges just £30 plus postage for her creations.

Hayley, who has two daughters aged 15 and 12, said: "A lot of the time, when people lose a loved one, they want to keep their clothes.

"But these often end up getting folded up and put away in a box and never really looked at.

"I wanted to create something where those clothing items could actually be kept out on display to look at, and be passed down through generations.

"I don't wash any of the clothes that get sent to me, so that they keep the smell of the person they belonged to. 

"It's just something nice that they can keep and cherish, and that will hopefully bring them some sort of comfort."

Hayley made her first teddy bear around November, for her great-aunt, her grandma's sister.

She said: "I was especially close to one of my nans, and used to go and see her most days in the care home where she lived. 

"I bought a lot of her clothes for her, too, so I knew when she passed away that I wanted to keep them - but I wasn't sure what I wanted to do with them."

Hayley works as a pension administrator in her regular job - but also has a creative side, and did a lot of children's face painting prior to the pandemic.

She said: "I'm a creative person, so I thought I'd put that to use with my nan's clothing. 

"I made the first teddy bear for my great-aunt from one of my nan's old shirts, because I thought she'd like of my nan's to hold on to."

Hayley then made a few more teddy bears for friends and family members out of clothes belonging to their loved ones - and began to share her creations on social media.

And, after a TikTok video she posted of the bears received over 87,000 views, Hayley has started to get requests from people all over the country for bears of their own.

She said: "There's been a couple of bears I've made for people who have passed away due to Covid.

"But a lot of people have sent me clothes they've been holding on to for a good few years.

"It's really nice when they get in touch and send me the clothes, because often the clothing has a lot of stories behind it, and I like to hear those stories and get a view into these people's lives.

"It's quite a relatable thing - most people have lost a loved one, and sometimes it's good to open up and talk about those memories.

"It does appeal to all generations, young and old, who have an appreciation of what it means and they are able to cherish somebody."

Hayley currently has about eight teddy bears on the go - and has around 40 more requests to take on once those are complete.

She said: "It's certainly going to keep me busy while we're all stuck at home."

To order a teddy bear from Hayley, visit: https://www.facebook.com/hayleysfacepaintingpboro.