Kyabram Free Press
Eileen’s bears carry on an important Legacy
This year’s annual ‘Legacy Week’ fundraising event suffered through COVID-19 restrictions along with the rest of the community, but thanks to local support it was still relatively successful according to local chair Don Cook.
“Legacy Week 2021 during Covid was very different this year but Legacy really appreciated the community support generally,” Mr Cook said.
“In particular we would like to thank the business outlets in Kyabram and Tongala who had Legacy displays and were enthusiastic in promoting the merchandise available”
One person who refused to miss out on Legacy Week was teddy bear collector Eillen Kay, of Kyabram, who added the ‘Light Horse Digger’ bear to her impressive collection of soft toys last month.
Mrs Kay has been collecting the Legacy Bears for more than two decades and now owns 10 of the military-themed furry toys.
“They're all fantastic. Every year I wonder what they're going to do this year,” she said.
Collecting bears is a passion for Mrs Kay that goes back to her childhood growing up in England during
World War II.
Following the harsh war years her family decided to emigrate to Australia under the ‘10-pound Pom’ arrangements.
“Growing up during the war years, all I had was a Golliwog and a Raggedyanne and a teddy bear that my mum had made for our presents for Christmas during that time,” she said.
“She wouldn't let me bring them because we were only allowed this little suitcase.”
Hearing the story years later, Mrs Kay’s daughter Joanne decided she would get her mother a bear to replace the one lost during childhood and that teddy was the first in a collection that has grown to over 40 today.
On a recent trip to London, her first since leaving the country, Mrs Kay unashamedly indulged her passion for collecting bears.
“My son took me back to England two years ago because I've never been back and he came back with a backpack full of bears that I had bought,” she said.
Today, Mrs Kay shares her house with many of the furry toys, and a number of other collections, and said she would be happy to share her passion with anyone who would like to see them.