Lee Rigby Keepsake Bear
I was so appalled to hear about the brutal murder of young soldier Lee Rigby in May. It was awful to watch the grieving family on the television, it was so upsetting to see, such a tragic waste of a young life.
In June I was contacted by the lovely Emma from Military Wedding Discounts, Emma asked me if I would make a memory bear that could be sent to Lee’s family as a future keepsake for Lee’s son Jack. Emma suggested a pocket on the bear to contain messages of condolence, that could be sent by the public to Emma’s website. I told Emma that I would be honoured and I would gladly make a unique bear in Lee’s remembrance, as a gift to Lee’s family.
My bears are usually made from personal clothing, but I couldn’t possibly bother the family at a time like this. So I started my search on the internet for clothing and accessories that I could use, I found T shirt with the Royal Regiment of Fusiliers crest, which I thought was an great starting point, Emma agreed it would be ideal and bought the t shirt for me to use.
My imagination started to get the better of me and I wanted to make this bear really special. I then bought some desert camouflage, khaki cotton fabric and wool fabric for his beret. I even managed to find the regiment feather hackle and metal cap badge use to hold the hackle onto the beret.
I found the photo of Lee in his drummer uniform and I decided to incorporate it onto the bear, I thought it give the bear a real personal touch.
I decided to use red on the bears paws and ears, to match Lee’s drummer uniform and the regiment crest.
The beret was a bit of a challenge, but such a lovely finishing touch, especially with the badge and feather hackle.
I finished the bear with a vintage union flag ribbon and ‘Daddy’ in letter beads on the foot.
The photo of Lee, looked just perfect on the other foot.
I decided the best place to take the photos would be on a beach, it was a lovely sunny weekend when I finished the bear, so we had a trip to Ainsdale beech in Southport to do a little photo shoot, we took a picnic with us and my boys had a kick around on the beach while I took the bear up onto the sand dunes.
It was late afternoon but the sun was still shining and it was the perfect ‘desert’ setting.
Instead of a pocket to hold the messages of condolence, I made a gorgeous little rucksack and printed the poem that Lee’s Dad read out on TV at the press conference.
I am so delighted with how this very special bear turned out, it is the most detailed bear I have ever made and it took me many hours to complete, but he was so worth it, I feel like I have done Lee’s memory justice.
It was a beautiful evening and we stayed to watch the sun set over the Irish sea.
I feel so privileged to be involved in this little project, I have enjoyed every minute of it and feel honoured that my bear might give Lee’s family a little comfort. In years to come, little Jack will be able to read the messages in the rucksack and appreciate how special his Daddy was, as he reads the heartfelt messages from the public.
A big Thank-you to Emma from Military Wedding Discounts for this beautiful and thoughtful idea. Emma is also arranging to hand the bear over to Lee’s family. xxx