Bears of Sheffield set to complete children's hospital fundraising for new cancer ward
Bear-ly anyone in Sheffield will not have noticed the 61 brightly coloured statues dotted around the city which have been raising money for a good cause.
The Bears of Sheffield were unveiled in July and have raised thousands of pounds in donations which will help fund a new cancer and leukaemia ward at Sheffield Children’s Hospital – and from today they will start to be removed from the streets.
But the largest share of the money raised is still to come from an auction of the bears at The Crucible on October 18, and organisers hope that the amount made will match or exceed that of 2016’s Herd of Sheffield elephant art trail – which was £410,000.
Rachael Thomas, events fundraising officer for Sheffield Children’s Hospital Charity, said: “It’s sad to see the bears go, but after the farewell event and auction it is going to be a massive accomplishment. Once we can see the transformation of the ward it will be all worth it.
"We have had so much support from so many people in Sheffield and even further beyond. It has given Sheffield that uplift we needed, put a smile on people’s faces and got the community involved.
"I think after the Herd of Sheffield everyone was really hoping to see part two, those that took part in 2016 couldn’t wait for this one.”
Already £4,000 has been raised through the Bears of Sheffield website, and a further £17,000 was raised through Bearathon challenges – where people raise £2.75 a day for 30 days, representative of the £2.75 million needed for the new cancer ward.
Over £2 million has been raised towards the ward and building work began this May. If the bears trail raises the remaining £700,000 work could be completed in early 2022.
Rachael added: “Currently the cancer and leukaemia ward is quite dark, there’s not many windows and not much privacy. We want to make the new ward a home away from home not only for patients but for patients’ families."
A bears farewell event will be held from October 14-17 at Meadowhall, where all the large bears can be seen together one last time. Tickets are still for sale via the charity’s website. The most visited bear during the trail was the Theo charity bear inside the Winter Gardens in Sheffield city centre.
A third ‘Of Sheffield’ art trail event could also take place - Rachael said it may be discussed after the bears have all been sold, although an animal has not yet been chosen.