Surgery for 73-year-old teddy bear

Surgery for 73-year-old teddy bear

Geoff Atkinson with his recently repaired teddy bear Rupert.

Very few teddy bears have a story like Rupert’s. 

Rupert recently attended a teddybear hospital in Kelmscott where he had his leather paws stitched up and his fur revitalised after years of love and hugs. 

Teddybear Hospital owner Kay Cooper said she fell in love with Rupert’s story when his owner’s daughter dropped him in to be fixed. 

“I was careful to follow in the stitches of the original creator to keep his authentic condition which was important to his owners,” she said. 

“I have repaired a lot of bears with amazing stories but Rupert’s journey from beginning to end was so touching.” 

Rupert belongs to 73-year-old Geoff Atkinson who was given the bear when he was just five weeks old in England. 

Mr Atkinson’s father Cliff left England as a British Army signals officer for Hamburg in Germany in April 1945 as part of the mop up force after Germany’s surrender at the end of the WWII. 

Cliff was given the job of getting the telephone system up and running again and came across Otto Huber who was a chief technical engineer of Reichspost (post office) before the war. 

On paper the pair should have been enemies but they struck up a friendship with Cliff delivering meat to Otto’s struggling family. 

While in Hamburg Cliff’s wife Doris gave birth to Geoff. 

In the days that followed Otto came across a fur lined German Luftwaffe flying suit and asked Cliff if he could have it. 

A further few days later Otto gave Cliff a bear for his son that his wife had made from the suit. 

Mr Atkinson received the bear when he was just five weeks old and it has been by his side ever since. 

“Kay healed his paws and revitalised his fur without altering his original appearance as he had to look like he did when I first got him,” he said. 

“Cosmetic surgery would have been a big mistake.” 

Mr Atkinson said he will likely pass Rupert on to one of his family members. 

“Whoever gets him will be the one who assures me he will be cared for and passed on to future generations,” he said. 

“I think Rupert and his story will become increasingly fascinating as time passes.”