Local community donates more than a 1000 soft toys for Radio Hunter Valley's Trauma Teddies drive

THE teddy bears have cancelled their picnic this year - and decided to support those in need instead.

Over the past fortnight, the team at Radio Hunter Valley has been collecting soft toys to distribute to local emergency services, which will then use them to comfort young children in distress.

To say the staff - at both 2NM and PowerFM - is overwhelmed by the outcome might be an understatement, with more than a 1000 cuddly critters now moving into the role of Trauma Teddies.

"We did this initiative a few years ago and got an incredible response from the Upper Hunter community," announcer Jessica Rouse said.

"On that occasion, hundreds of bears were donated to us.

"We were able to hand them over to ambulance paramedics, police officers and firefighters to keep in their cars, vans, trucks and at the stations to give to youngsters, and even some big kids, in times of a traumatic, confusing or upsetting times.

"The Trauma Teddies are offered to them when crews attend such things like car accidents and fires.

"They're very handy in domestic situations as well.

"They distract and console the person they're given to."

Fellow announcer Glenn "Stolzy" Stolzenhein said a big "thank you" needed to go out to the Upper Hunter community again.

"The generosity we've witnessed over the past two weeks is sensational," he added.

"To be honest, we were very surprised by how quickly people responded to our call-out.

"Residents from Murrurundi, Merriwa, Scone, Denman, Aberdeen, Muswellbrook, Singleton and everywhere in between have all chipped in.

"Not just one teddy, but sometimes a lot.

"After what happened in Singleton just recently, it's probably made people more aware that local lives could be lost at any time.

"If this gesture can put a smile on a child's face, during a tough time, then that makes it worthwhile."

In June, 2500 Gentle Bears arrived at 46 NSW Rural Fire Service (RFS) stations around the state.

Fifty of those went to the Hunter Valley RFS to act as an emotional aid for children in emergency situations.