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Army teddy bear who brought comfort to hundreds
3:00pm Thursday 8th August 2013 in News
THIS teddy bear has endured Taliban explosions, brought comfort to hundreds of families and will always carry the memories of a little girl’s daddy.
Private Oonagh Bear flew to Afghanistan on the same flight as Latchford soldier Private Daniel Wade, who was killed serving his country last year, and became the Corunna company mascot providing regular updates for more than 800 friends on Facebook.
The little bear, who has since been nominated for a Pride of Britain award, has now gone into retirement after serving with the Army for more than six months and is being looked after by Daniel’s baby daughter Lexie-Mai.
Godparents Paul, from Newton-Le-Willows, the man behind the Facebook posts, and Jude Gibbons said the bear will have plenty of stories to tell the youngster.
Jude said: “It was something to help the kids adjust to their dad being in Afghanistan and they would send messages and post comments and then it took off and grandparents and parents got involved of the single soldiers too.
“They will never go on operational tours as Corunna again as the batallions are merging so we thought the bear should take redundancy too and keep Lexie-Mai company.”
The couple, who have been married for six years, said the bear got an ‘unbelievable response’ on Facebook as the bear commented on every day life in camp and even the injury process after Paul damaged the nerves in his hand.
During the tour, Pte Oonagh Bear and Paul went over a bomb with the explosion blowing off the bear’s belly while a mum, who had suffered a heart attack just before her son had left with the Army, told Paul she did not know how she would have got through his tour without the bear’s updates.
The 26-year-old was also flooded with custard creams after posting a message from the bear saying they were his preferred biscuit as well as grandmas sending the bear jubilee jumpers and knitted woolly hats.
Paul, who became good mates with Daniel as they were the only two in the Yorkshire regiment from the north west, added: “Lexie-Mai will be asking questions when she’s older about her dad and the bear followed him everywhere and is something Lexie can keep for the rest of her life.
“I think it’s what anybody would have done and I’m sure Daniel would have done the same.
“The bear is like a memory box and hopefully we can build up a picture of what Lexie-Mai’s dad was like.”
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