Teddy-grams for Campbell is a children’s story book inspired by the Pembroke School Bear Making Programme and based on the adventures of five ‘real’ Pembroke Bears. The book was commissioned to mark Pembroke School’s 40th Anniversary celebrations.
This beautifully written, illustrated and designed story book will be a favourite with children and families, across the generations.
Initially proceeds from the sale of the Book will continue to support the Bear Making Programme and the Pembroke School Indigenous Education Programme, a matter that Campbell Whalley was passionate about.
The Stories Behind the Book
The following provides insight to some of the stories that have inspired this book.
Dusty the Bear
Haiti in 2010 was the centre of an extremely destructive earthquake and subsequent flooding. Dr Patrick Duigan, a Pembroke old scholar ('99), was head of the medical team at the hospital in Port-au-Prince at the time. At such a terrible time, support for the good work by Patrick and his team was needed. A gift of 79 bears was made from schools in the outback of SA and Pembroke. Under the supervision of Campbell Whalley (using resources of School of the Air, along with skills of staff, parents and students in schools from Pt Augusta through to Marree) many bears, two camels and several rabbits were created. Pembroke bears were made in the after school sessions for this purpose. The bears were packed ready for shipment to Haiti and transported on a Qantas flight with Patrick to be distributed at Christmas time 2010 to children in an orphanage and the hospital.
Shoebox of Love
Following the devastation of the Bali bombings in 2003, Pembroke jumped on board an initiative of ‘Carry for Kids’ and donated around 160 shoeboxes, each one tastefully decorated and filled with items for children using the themes of ‘something to read, something for school, something for when I am hurt’. There were many gifts and contributions made by the students to fill the shoeboxes destined for children in Bali orphanages. Our very own mini bears were made especially to fit in the shoeboxes. It would have been a wonderful surprise for the recipient when each box was opened.
Get Well Soon Gordon
Apart from supporting the Pembroke community with bears, many more have been given to other people and places as trauma bears. The story of Gordon is a reflection of how sometimes as a group Pembroke students walk in and present their bears to children in hospitals. Several highlights follow from numerous occasions represented in the journals over 27 years.
On one occasion a bear was given to an older teenage boy. He was a leader, was admired for his sporting ability and was a friendly and well respected young man. When in hospital recovering from surgery following a sporting injury a bear was given to him. He showed a sense of emotion that perhaps surprised himself and those who knew him well.
A 4 year old boy was at home helping in the kitchen. He noticed the handle of a saucepan on the stove and reaching up to grab the handle, he pulled the contents over himself. In hospital, his body was covered with a body stocking to assist the healing process of his burns. At the sight of a Pembroke student with a bear, the boy’s face lit up and there were squeals of delight at the prospect of his very own bear. This emotional story will always be a memory for the Pembroke students on that day.
While still in recovery after major reconstructive cranio-facial surgery, it is amazing how a young person, at the feel of a cuddly Pembroke bear, will semi consciously wrap an arm around the bear.
Antarctica – Mawsie
There have been many adventurers in the history of Pembroke bears. Three of the most famous, Mawson, Shacks and Bill, went on an adventure to Antarctica with Pembroke staff member Dave Nelson in 1997. The bears sailed as stowaways on the 18 metre yacht and were able to share a teddy bears picnic at the site of Mawson’s hut, Cape Dennison, Commonwealth Bay. Much later and upon their return to Australia, complete with a log of their adventure and photos, Mawson, Shacks and Bill were auctioned to raise funds for charity. Each of the bears now reside with very fortunate Pembroke families.
Amelia Bearhardt is a very special bear that was given to the Royal Flying Doctor Service (RFDS) for the purpose of keeping a log of proceedings. At some future time, the bear complete with photos and a select portion of the log will be raffled with the proceeds being used to support a charity.
Pembroke bears have been made and donated to RFDS and Rescue 1 since the very start of the programme in 1987, with more than 250 bears being made and given away by the students. The bears are distributed as required by the doctors and nurses who fly to destinations for emergency retrievals. Often the situation means there is no time for the patient to collect any belongings so there is a very real need for a bear to offer comfort to the traumatised person.
Recently, the School received a message from a doctor about a young boy who was air lifted by RFDS plane. Included below is a section of the message sent by the doctor.
‘I am a doctor at the Women's and Children's Hospital. Yesterday I looked after a little boy who was in pain and very scared. He had just been retrieved from the country by "MedStar Kids" with a life threatening injury and was rushed to theatre to have an urgent operation. Under his arm he had a new teddy bear. I noticed that on the sole of the bear's foot there was the Pembroke logo, and some of the panels looked like school uniform material. I asked his Mum where it had come from and she said that he had been given it along the way, maybe in the RFDS plane. His mother told me that he had been clutching the bear ever since and how much comfort it had brought him. Later, after his surgery when I visited him in ICU the bear was still at his bed side.’