A teddy’s head found washed up on a beach in Cornwall following storms has been transformed into a beautiful soft bear after a year of painstaking restoration.
Tracey Williams, who posts about items discovered on beaches, found the remains of the bear in seaweed on a beach in Cornwall in January last year.
She posted about the find on Twitter, where her page Lego Lost At Sea has more than 44,000 followers, and it was seen by a priest who asked to restore it.
Rev Canon Eleanor Rance, who lives in Shrewton, Wiltshire, received the bear head in late January last year and began the painstaking work of restoring it to a soft teddy.
The bear’s fur was coated in seaweed in sand, with Ms Rance also finding shells, stones and a tiny piece of coral embedded in it. Her son named the bear Sinbad, in honour of its ocean journey.
Ms Rance, who is rector of Shrewton and a former RAF chaplain, said she had never tried restoring a teddy bear before but enjoys sewing.
“When I saw the Twitter post, I thought he looked so sad but that he could have a lot of life left in him still,” she said.
“I offered to try and restore him and he arrived in a cardboard envelope, smelling strongly of the sea. He was completely caked in seaweed and had stones and tiny shells in his ears.
“His eyes and nose were still there and had become opaque, like sea glass. He must have been in the sea for ages. He must have been loved very much once, but there is no way of knowing who he belonged to.”
Ms Rance first mended the holes in Sinbad’s face and realised the bear was still fluffy behind the ears.
She then researched patterns for the body and realised Sinbad was in fact a large bear, measuring around 50cm high.
The body was sewn together in June, with fur added to it in December.
Ms Rance posted updates to Sinbad’s restoration on Twitter, receiving a large response from people across the world.
On January 14, she uploaded an image of Sinbad’s before and after – showing the bear fully restored into a soft teddy bear.
Sinbad, who has been taken to visit residents at a care home and into schools for assemblies, will now become a therapy bear.
Ms Rance added: “The fact that he was battered and wounded but could still have a life and a future – it’s a story we all understand and relate to.
“People who meet him want to love and care for him, as I did.”
Research is under way to try to trace the bear’s ocean journey, thanks to seaweed that fell out of its fur.
A marine biologist has offered to examine the seaweed to see if they can give clues as to how long Sinbad spent at sea and where the bear travelled.