Woman creates three metre hay bale bear to raise money for Saint Michael's Hospice

The head-turning three metre tall bear
The head-turning three metre tall bear

Dozens of people are stopping to take photos of a three metre tall teddy bear made from hay bales that has appeared in a field in Arkendale.

In a ‘build-a-bear’ with a difference, Wendy Lill came up with the unique idea to raise money for Saint Michael’s Hospice.

People can donate to Wendy’s JustGiving page and enter her 'name the bear' competition to raise vital funds for the charity, which helps people affected by terminal illness to live as full a life as possible.

Wendy said: “I came up with the idea when I found a bale in the Dales with the colour of Saint Michael’s. I want to raise as much money as possible for the charity. Cars are stopping every two minutes. One man with a van stopped and said to me, ‘every time I pass it, it makes me smile’. I am so glad that it’s putting a smile on people’s faces.

“Saint Michael’s are delighted with the teddy bear. They said that they’ve never seen anything like it. When me and my father built the bear, we had to use specialist equipment. It’s very heavy.”

Photos of the bear have been shared worldwide, with many people taking to social media to post about the head-turning attraction. Wendy said: “Photos have even gone as far as Japan and Alaska now”.

Asking Wendy how she came up with the idea, she said: “I had a vision. I love teddy bears, and I think everyone loves a teddy bear. It’s something that will appeal to everyone and everybody, and it’s a good way of raising money for the charity. The bear will be changing with the seasons and people driving past it will notice it looking different.

“If anyone wants to give a three metre tall bear a santa outfit they can”, she laughed.

Next to the teddy bear is advertising space, which Wendy is inviting people to use in return for a donation to Saint Michael’s. “If anyone wants to make a proposal or anything like that, they can use the space”, Wendy said.

Wendy will also be raising money for Saint Michael’s in March when she will drive a sled pulled by a team of huskies across the Arctic.

You can enter the name the bear competition and donate to Saint Michael’s at: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/wendylill, where you can also support Wendy’s Arctic challenge.

Name suggestions for the bear so far include Charity and Blush. To see the bear for yourself, "you can't miss it" as you drive into Arkendale, Wendy said.