Strangers help lost bears to get home

Pupil put six cud­dly toys in Lon­don as experiment

Buckinghamshire Advertiser - - NEWS - By Camilla Good­man camilla.good­man@trin­i­tymir­

A STU­DENT who asked strangers to help six cud­dly toys lost in Lon­don find their way back home to Che­sham is de­lighted with the out­come of his experiment.

Year 13 stu­dent at Che­sham Gram­mar School Jack Whi­taker, 17, from Che­sham, de­cided to do an ad­di­tional and op­tional Ex­tended Pro­ject Qual­i­fi­ca­tion (EPQ), which is an A-level stan­dard in­de­pen­dent re­search pro­ject.

He got to choose his own topic and de­cided to ex­plore the six de­grees of sep­a­ra­tion, a the­ory that ev­ery­one is six or fewer steps away, by way of in­tro­duc­tion, from any other per­son in the world.

To ex­am­ine the the­ory, Jack took six furry toys into Lon­don and left each at a dif­fer­ent tourist at­trac­tion, such as Trafal­gar Square and Pic­cadilly Cir­cus, with a notebook at­tached ex­plain­ing his pro­ject and ask­ing who­ever found it to help it get back to Che­sham Gram­mar School and to write some notes about its jour­ney.

He also set-up a Twit­ter ac­count @get­bearhome and en­cour­aged peo­ple to use #get­bearhome to help record their jour­neys.

Jack is also mak­ing a film about his pro­ject. Af­ter drop­ping off each cud­dly toy he se­cretly recorded peo­ple in­ter­act­ing with them, which he said only took a few min­utes to hap­pen.

So far, two of the six toys, a lion and a white tiger, have made it back to the school.

Their note­books show a num­ber of peo­ple helped them get home and each toy em­barked on quite the jour­ney vis­it­ing places such as the Lon­don Eye and Tower Bridge. The lion ended up go­ing to Milton Keynes and onto Birm­ing­ham, where it got a keyring, be­fore train sta­tion staff wrote it a ticket to Berkham­sted.

Jack said: “I’m re­ally pleased with the re­sults. It was a bit risky be­cause there was a chance I wouldn’t get any back, so I’m happy with two out of six.

“I’ve come to the con­clu­sion that I can’t fully agree with six con­nec­tions, as these ones had about eight or nine.

“So­cial media of­ten has a neg­a­tive stigma at­tached to it but this proves it can be used for good and it

KIND­NESS OF STRANGERS: Top right, Jack Whi­taker with the two toys which have so far made it back home. Above and be­low left, one of the furry friends on its trav­els across the Cap­i­tal tak­ing in the sights can help con­nect.”

Two rab­bits, a chee­tah and a koala are still try­ing to find their way back to Che­sham.

All the school’s EPQ stu­dents will present their projects at the school in White Hill, Che­sham, next Thurs­day (Oc­to­ber 1) from 5pm to 7pm. They will each have a stall


to be­fore giv­ing pre­sen­ta­tion.

Jack added: “I’m look­ing for­ward to the pre­sen­ta­tion and I’ll be show­ing my film. It’ll be a great at­mos­phere and the more peo­ple who come along, the bet­ter.”

Did you come across any of the cud­dly toys? Email buck­snews@ trin­i­


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