For the last four decades, little teddy bears donated by a local charity group have been helping children having hospital treatment in Teesside.
Teddies for Loving Care (TLC) has been visiting the University Hospital of North Tees since 1985.
Over that time, they have delivered around 13,500 bears, given to young patients who may be anxious or in distress.
To mark the ongoing success of the initiative, representatives from the group visited the hospital this week to unveil a special plaque.
Nichola Jones, healthcare assistant in the children and young people’s emergency care department, said: “The bears have made a really significant difference.
“They have reduce the stress and anxiety a child may have when they are in the department.
“We can do things like ask the children to look after the bear – it gives them something to focus on while we are looking after them.
“It is such a rewarding experience – we know we are giving that child a better experience in hospital.
“We can’t thank the charity enough for everything they have done and continue to do for us.”
The TLC charity, provided by the Masonic Charitable Foundation, has donated 113,000 teddy bear to hospitals within the local area and around three million nationwide.
At an unveiling at the hospital department, John Thompson, assistant provincial grand master for the Freemasons Province of Durham, said: “We are so proud to have supported hospitals through the TLC charity for almost 40 years.
“This has been possible through more than £250,000 donations from members – all which has helped children in distress in hospitals across the region.
“It is wonderful what these staff here do – if these teddy bears can in any way help these staff and their patients then this has done its job.”