Here’s a heartwarming story all the way from Scotland as Christmas draws near!
Meet 21-year-old fashion tech student, Mary MacInnes, the brainchild of “Memory Bears”. Six years ago, this young seamstress who started sewing at a very young age, discovered a unique way of helping people in bereavement – special teddy bears made from clothing of departed loved ones!
In an interview with Metro.co.uk, Mary admits that making memory bears was an unexpected turn of events for her- “I made my first memory bear five years ago as a favour for a friend and was constantly asked to make more, but turned them down because I wanted to concentrate on university and a career in bridal”.
Thanks to social media, she soon received overwhelming requests when she started uploading images of her special creations online.
A high achiever in her own right (she won the Young Entrepreneur of the Year award at the age of 16!!) and a graduate of the Herriot Watt University in Edinburgh, Scotland, Mary hasn’t looked back and continues to dedicate her time to make a difference in people’s lives with her memory bears.
According to Mary, each bear takes about five to six hours to complete, right from the time taken to plan, design, cut, sew and add final touches to the personalised momentos.
Apart from being made out of personal items of clothing worn by deceased individuals, Mary’s “Memory Bears” may also include jewellery previously worn by departed loved ones and even ashes! Some memory bears include pockets to keep letters or other special items to remember the deceased. These special teddies are quite flexible and can be made to pose differently given their joined legs and arms-they can sit, stand, raise their arms and most of all give great cuddles!!
Priced at £50, Mary says making these memory bears can be an emotionally draining process. “Recently I had a 37 year old man pleading with me to make his two daughters aged 10 & 12 bears before Christmas. He insisted on paying in full and gave me £10 extra asking me to post them to his girls. It turned out he has terminal cancer and won’t see Christmas. I cried the whole time I cut out, sewed and stuffed those two little bears”.
Yet, Mary admits that making these special creations is truly rewarding especially when she witnesses the reaction of her customers when they collect their memory bears – “80% burst into tears”. Subsequent feedback from customers also prove that these teddies have helped them in their grieving process, especially children.
In her own words – “It really is a privilege to be asked to create something from people’s personal possessions.”
*Featured image sourced from Facebook/Mary MacInnes