An heroic 91 year old great-grandmother who volunteers in a charity shop has knitted a over whopping 8,000 teddy bears for charity over the last 22 years.
Phyllis Reeve, 91, has also been invited to a garden party at Buckingham Palace in May, in acknowledgement of her charitable work for the last three decades.
Every month, Phyllis and her daughter Janet Young, 63, drop a bag of bears to a representative for charity Teddies for Tragedies, which distributes them globally.
The bears have flown to places near and far, including China, Belgium and Ireland, to comfort children involved in natural disasters and terror attacks.
Phyllis said: “I’m not a hero at all, just an ordinary working class woman – I retired when I was 60 and I’ve volunteered for charity ever since.
“You have to use three colours for each bear, and you use a pattern that the charity gives you.
“All the bears need to be smiling with no dangerous parts like eyes – they need to be safe for children you see.
“We’re lucky really, I work in a charity shop so when people donate their duvets, I bring them home and wash them, then use the fluff out of them to stuff the bears – it saves waste!”
When Phyllis’s daughter Janet got a job at the hospital as a nurse, she persuaded Phyllis to start volunteering.
Phyllis said: “I used to do all the odd jobs. I used to look after the flowers, back when there used to be flowers on the wards.
“I’d talk to the patients, do their hair, run errands – all the odd jobs the nurses didn’t get around to doing. I thoroughly enjoyed it.”
When Phyllis’ husband Ron passed away in 2011 at the age of 88, she began volunteering for the Salvation Army, where she now irons donations one day a week.
Her kind-hearted services have been recognised more than once – she was awarded a British Empire Medal (BEM) a prize given by Buckingham Palace to commend her good work.
Phyllis said: “When I received the BEM, I read the letter and then read it again. I was shocked. I was amazed.
“I was dying to tell everybody straight away. I’ve had lots of cards and lots of phone calls from my friends to say well done.”
“I phone up each of my daughters, and I said, ‘I’m gonna get a medal!’”
Phyllis, who used to work in a Boots Pharmacy, knits a new bear every evening in spite of her arthritis.
She said: “Ron used to do the teddy bears with me. He used to stuff them and sew them up.
“Now my daughter does it as well. It gives me pleasure to know that I have brightened the children’s days.”