A woman is making soft toys out of dead people’s clothes stuffed with their ashes.
Paula Steele, 46, creates stuffed animals, blankets and cushions in tribute to the deceased.
The mother-of-four then uses the cremated remains of the dearly departed as stuffing.
Paula Steele, 46, creates stuffed animals, blankets and cushions in tribute to the deceased
The mother-of-four has set up her own business creating ‘memory makers’ out of deceased people’s clothing and ashes
Paula Steele decided to set up the company following the death of her stepfather Allan
Ms Steele, a part-time seamstress for 24 years, came up with her ‘Memory Bears from the Heart’ after losing her stepfather Allan to Oesophageal cancer.
Her first creation was a stuffed toy lion which included a sachet of Allan’s ashes where the heart would be.
She said: ‘When I cuddle it, it makes me feel closer to him. It gives me a bit of closure and is rewarding for me to know that by making these memory items for others in the same boat I’m helping them to come to terms with their loss.
‘I wanted to make something for myself but didn’t want anyone else to do it.
‘I thought actually I could do this and I was just feeling ready to take on a new challenge.
‘I’ve loved every minute of creating memory bears for people to cherish.’
The mother-of-four uses the cremated remains of the dearly departed as stuffing
The mother-of-four has made 778 items for bereaved people over the last three years
Ms Steele’s mother is pictured with a blanket made up of her husband’s memories
Since making the stuffed lion, Ms Steele has made 778 items for bereaved people over the last three years.
‘I just love my job’, she said.
‘When you’re preparing the bears you sit down with the family member and hear all about the person they’ve lost…you get a real feel for them which helps as you create it.’
Some people have asked her to add some of their loved ones’ favourite belongings to the animal.
She said: ‘I had someone ask me to put their grandad’s glasses on the bear and another a neck tie.
‘But mostly they ask for embroidered messages that are personal to them.’