Leeds Hospitals Charity launched Leeds Bear Hunt on 1 July this year, a public art trail to raise vital funds for Leeds Children’s Hospital.
Inspired by Michael Rosen’s renowned book, ‘We’re Going on a Bear Hunt’, the event saw 35 giant bears and 50 adorable bear cubs hidden around the City Centre throughout the summer.
Leeds Hospital’s Charity aimed to raise over £300,000, to support projects within Leeds Children’s Hospital. The auctioning of the bear sculptures, which took place at the end of the hunt, raised an amazing £110,000 alone.
The money raised will aid vital projects at Leeds Children’s Hospital, improving the lives of young patients. With previous funding, Leeds Hospitals Charity has completed a vast array of projects, from groundbreaking research to the introduction of innovative diagnostic technologies.
The Bear Hunt
The hunt came to a close on 9 September, when eager bear hunters had walked 43,358,814 steps, spotted the uniquely designed bears over 253,779 times, and downloaded the app nearly 7,000 times.
On the 17th September the bears received a paw-some send-off., The event saw local sponsors and artists gather outside Leeds Trinity to parade their beloved bear sculptures. Led by a live band, the parade was attended by hundreds and buses were held up by giant bear sculptures on The Headrow!
Author Michael Rosen Visits Leeds Children’s Hospital
In a continued effort to raise awareness and funds for Leeds Children’s Hospital, the parade was followed by a Farewell Weekend.
Author Michael Rosen, paid a visit to the bears his book inspired, the resilient patients that the hunt is working to support, and the children from local schools who had sponsored and decorated their own bear cubs.
During his visit , Michael Rosen heard how they selected a design for the bear and the heartfelt reasons behind them choosing to sponsor it.
At Leeds Children’s Hospital, he spent the afternoon on the ward chatting, playing and reading to the young patients. His visit gave the children a welcome boost of joy and encouragement, and enabled him to see the invaluable work that the hospital undertakes.
Meanwhile, from 22 to 24 September, all 85 grizzly bear sculptures were transported to Leeds City Museum.
The Leeds community and bear enthusiasts had the final opportunity to take a selfie with the locally designed bears and donate to the vital local cause at Leeds Children’s Hospital.
In a final bid to raise crucial funds, Leeds Hospitals Charity put all 35 of its giant bear sculptures up for sale at an auction hosted by auctioneer and TV personality Charles Hanson at Leeds City Museum on Thursday 28th September.
The auction invited local businesses and art enthusiasts to take part in a bear-bidding war for a very deserving cause.
The auction generated an impressive sum of £110,000 for Leeds Children’s Hospital. With a record bid of £11,100 for ‘Polar’.
‘Polar’ was designed by 10-year old Freddie, a patient at Leeds Children’s Hospital who battles the rare and chronic condition, Alagille Syndrome. Freddie has undergone a liver transplant and two open heart surgeries at the hospital and he designed ‘Polar’ to help the Leeds Hospitals Charity raise funds for more children like him. Freddie fell in love with the bear and saved all summer to buy it himself. He successfully outbid all others and ‘Polar’ will reside at his school, Southdale Junior School and Infants, serving as a symbol of hope and determination.
Another bear, named the ‘Bear Full of Care’, was also sold for an amazing £7,600 at the auction. This bear was designed by Hannah Jayne Lewin and it represents the patients at Leeds Children’s Hospital.
It was purchased by 11 bidders who spontaneously grouped together on the night as they wanted to ensure that the ‘Bear Full of Care’ would find its permanent home at the hospital. The bear will now remain at Leeds Children’s Hospital as a reminder of the patients and nurses it symbolises.
The Bear Hunt and the events that followed it have been a huge success. Thanks to your support and the money you helped raise, more of this vital work can be done by Leeds Hospitals Charity for the poorly children and babies at Leeds Children’s Hospital.
Leeds Hospital Charity supports the whole network of NHS Hospitals across Leeds, including the Leeds Cancer Centre, Leeds General Infirmary and Rob Burrow Centre for Motor Neurone Disease. The charity consistently relies on the kind and generous donations from the local community to share support. You can donate here.