It Wasn’t a Teddy Bears’ Picnic

Keith Wood the Bear Man of West BergholtIt Wasn’t a Teddy Bears’ Picnic

It certainly wasn’t a Teddy Bears’ picnic but West Bergholt definitely pulled together during the COVID-19 lockdown.  In so many ways they displayed kindness, generosity, sharing & innovation that shows what a great village we are.

The Bear Man

One person that has become quite famous for his efforts is Keith Wood or Bear Man of West Bergholt as he likes to be called.  He displayed his large bears in many outfits on his driveway & kept old & young alike entertained each day.  Folks waited in anticipation of what they would be wearing & what props would be used.   He brought cheer & laughter at a time when lockdown affected people’s mental health in many different ways.

Bears Raised Money for MS UK & Colchester Zoo As Well

Just when we thought the bears had gone back to their home at the Zoo, Keith launched a book of his favourite bear photos & held a book signing session at the White Hart. The bears wore silver glitter outfits & had their own red carpet & people could take photos with them.  Keith is kindly donating all the profits from the book, the raffle & cake sale to MS UK & Colchester Zoo. So far, he has raised a tremendous amount of £4,700 and more is expected as people continue to order the book.

Thank You

Chris Stevenson presented the Blue PlaquesThe Parish Council wanted to recognise & to say Thank You to four people in particular who have stood out for their community spirit.   Chris Stevenson, the Chairman, presented Blue Plaques at the book signing event to rounds of applause.

Those recognised were –

  • KEITH WOOD – our special Bear Man of West Bergholt as highlighted above.
  • DEBRA HORNIGOLD – known as The Cake Lady of West Bergholt.
    Debra started baking for key workers when lockdown started & hasn’t stopped baking yet. People have left ingredients on her doorstep & she said as long as they keep coming she’ll keep baking. She’s now even baking for horses.
    Debra kindly baked hundreds of cakes for Keith’s book signing event & they sold out in a record time so in true Cake Lady spirit she then took orders for more!
  • MERVYN DONNELLY – When COVID struck it was important that the Parish Council put in place some sort of community help for those that were vulnerable or in need. Mervyn took the helm & along with Care Network he set up a volunteer system which has helped residents & reassured families that their loved ones can be helped if needed. An amazing 60 people volunteered to help which speaks volumes about our great village.
  • DAVID HEWITT- known for his wonderful display of bears in Mumford Close that brought joy to those that passed by. Dave is the village Handyman & was himself vulnerable during COVID so it’s very kind of him to have made the effort to keep others happy.

Enjoy a slideshow of the event and, perhaps, singalong to the music:



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