Coldham Cuddlies - a clerical bear collection

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These items are being made and sold as part of the S. Barnabas Cathedral Artisan Crafts Group contribution to the Cathedral's 175th anniversary celebrations during 2019/2020.


Each is a MADE TO ORDER Dressed Clerical Bear. They make an unusual Present suggestion as suitable for just about any occasion - both at all parish levels, or for any family occasions. They are particularly appropriate at major Festive occasions such as Christmas, Easter, First Communions, etc. or welcoming/farewell to new parish staff , etc. They are also offered in a fully ecumenical intention.

Dimensions are:

  • Height: 14 inches (36 cms) - mid-Head to Feet
  • Girth: 11 inches (28.5cms) - mid-Body
  • Weight: 5-6 ounces (c. 150g)
  • Arms: 5 inches (13 cms) - these are both movable.

All our Clerical Bears are made as Fund Raising Tools for the S. Barnabas Cathedral Maintenance Fund. However, COLDHAMCUDDLIES are also first and foremost suppliers of Ornamental Toys for anyone. We believe they should appeal to the normal Toy Purchasing public looking for an unusual, dressed Toy as well as church-goers, of any denomination.

The Clerical Bear project has been 2.5 years in planning/execution. This involved pattern selection, many helpful suggestions from family, friends and, even, COLDHAMCUDDLIES customers - from both sides of the Atlantic Ocean. Originally, I was challenged just to make "A Father Bear" as a potential fund-raising tool for S. Barnabas R.C. Cathedral - which is where my family gather almost every week. By October 2018, with a long-term building/maintenance programme in place for the Cathedral, the Clerical Bear Collection was officially launched with six different Teddy Bears offered: Padre Bear, Bishop Bear, Sister Bear, Missionary Bear (two versions to make the Collection a more "inclusive" one) and a Vicar Bear - reflecting the ecumenical intention of the whole project. Twenty five different Bears have now found homes – mostly in the United States, and several within the Diocese. Currently, No 26 has just been delivered, with No.27 cut out and awaiting attention.

Twenty percent (20%) of the £25.00 GBP price of EVERY Bear sold (= £5.00) goes to St Barnabas Cathedral Restoration Fund - with the rest coming to me to fund the creation of as many Clerical Teddy Bear Ornamental Toys as the demand requires. So far, one year since first displayed, 25 Bears have been ordered and supplied, on top of the now 9 Collection Members (who remain with me as a "travelling showcase").

The "Travelling Showcase" includes three newer versions of Sister Bears - all of whom are separately listed in our Shop. (links provided later). These originated as "custom orders", but are now available to anyone who would prefer another one in place of our original Sister. She was created in the style of a Sister of Mercy - an order who worked in Nottingham for much of the 20th Century. All but one of the Sister Bears represent Religious orders who have served in the St.Barnabas Cathedral Parish over the 175 years since the Building was completed - an Anniversary that is being celebrated this year – 2019/20.

The Collection is ecumenical in conception – represented currently by Vicar Bear (a Lady version can be provided, using the Sister Bear pattern (but without a veil) - the sixth member of the series.

His Dimensions are:

  • Height: 16.5 inches (42.236 cms) - mid-Head to Feet
  • Girth: 9.5 inches (24.5cms) - mid-Body
  • Weight: 5-6 ounces (c. 150g)
  • Arms: 5 inches (13 cms) - these are both moveable.

A different pattern is used for this Toy: hence the different measurements involved. Vicar is a bit taller than the other gentlemen/lady Bears.

With our other Bears possibly regarded as only having a Catholic appeal, I felt it was appropriate to introduce an Ecumenical Fun Ornamental Decorative Toy to our Collection - hence Vicar Bear (with, or without) an ornamental cross. He's just as suitable for a Special Occasion Present, or just as a Fun Gift of appreciation between Family and/or Friends as are any, or all, the Other Clerical Bear Toys displayed in the COLDHAMCUDDLIES toy shop.

Most of the Bears have Head, Paws and Body made with an unusual beige colour fleece. The exceptions have Head, Paws and Body made with a dark Brown Fleece. (ALL the Bears can be made with the Brown Fleece, if Customers wish - there are already examples in our Shop - please click here - https://www.etsy.com/shop/coldhamcuddlies?section_... - to investigate further). They all have plastic eyes and noses, safely held in place with metal safety discs. All also have Black Felt footwear – Shoes for the gentlemen, or Boots in the case of Sister Bears – each pair is stuffed separately. The footwear includes a cardboard base - to help them stand better. Each one wears a small ornamental crucifix too. Their clothing is made with various poplin/linen/gaberdine fabrics. Each Clerical Bear's "cassock" has 10 buttons individually sewn on the fronts of their garments.

A Sister Bear's "habit", including veil, is made with fabric resembling, as far as possible, the colours and style adopted by the Congregation of Sisters being commemorated. As many modern Sisters now tend to favour modern dress wear, I am thus reliant on photographs. So too are the Coldham Cuddlies Sister Bear portrayals - and matching fabric colours can sometimes be unreliable.

These Ornamental Toys evolve as each one is made, even though the same pattern is used for each. Their arms are movable, and to begin with, they should all stand upright without need for a prop. However, it is NORMAL for the stuffing to "relax" over time, so even with careful handling, they may eventually require to lean against something. Be aware, too, COLDHAMCUDDLIES can be subject to the "crafters' curse" - a change in dye colours, when replacement fabrics are acquired.

All the Novelty Collectable Decorative Toys are stuffed with polyester which complies with the following British and European Standards: B.S.1425 for Cleanliness; B.S.5853 for Flammability: BS EN71-3 2013 - for soft toys being sold within the European Union.

The stuffing CAN be washed (up to 60 degrees). We don't advise this, however: due to the dyes involved in all the fabrics used to make our Clerical Bear Collection not necessarily being colour-fast, or the cardboard, used to bolster the footwear, not being water proof.

Like all COLDHAM CUDDLIES Ornamental Toys, these Collectable Ornamental Decorative Bears are made in Animal- and Smoke-free environments. They each take between 3-5 days to make.

(The Pink Nun Sister Bear is the result of an order from a long-term COLDHAM CUDDLIES customer based in Tulsa, Oklahoma - who wished to commemorate his local Congregation of Sisters, but who are located in several other US States).

The Collection is intended to exist just as long as the demand continues. They make unusual presents “for the difficult to buy for” - at any time of year, or for any anniversary or other celebration. They appeal to anyone whether “religious” or not.

Further Information:

Isobel Morrell, (79) creator of the Collection, has been making Soft Cuddly Toys since being taught at boarding school in the 1950's. She has an online shop – www.etsy.com/shop/coldhamcuddlies opened in 2010 – and all enquiries should be directed to this site. The original Bears can be found by clicking here https://www.etsy.com/shop/coldhamcuddlies?section_id=24637980

Alternatively, you can order/pay via PayPal – coldhamcuddlies/petis@tiscali.co.uk.

She can also be contacted by telephone: 01623 720528. Snail Mail – 21, Old Chapel Close, Kirkby in Ashfield, Nottinghamshire, NG17 8JG

She is more than happy to make a Clerical Bear to resemble any Order/Congregation – male or female – if provided with a colour photograph from which she can work.

Orders are processed in order of receipt. Each Bear takes between 5-7 days to make - from cutting out. Delivery is dependent on Work in Progress at the time when an order is received.

Delivery – anywhere in the UK can be arranged. Costs £8.50 per Bear via Royal Mail Express Delivery (tracked/signed for).

Anywhere overseas can be handled too: Costs £13.85 per Bear via Royal Mail International Airmail Tracked service. Allow between 4-6 weeks for delivery.

All postal costs can attract a refund: no two Bears weigh the same and I do include a small contingency to cover any unexpected increased charges (from Royal Mail, or international mailing services) during the course of a contract. If applicable, this is provided at the same time an item is dispatched.