Story credit to the Otago Daily Times 

Teddy bears knitted for a good cause have flown out of the Temuka Pottery Retail Shop.

Amanda Scarsbrook, who co-owns the shop with her husband Charles, said there had been 120 bears for sale, which her mother Wendy Smith had hand-knitted, and the proceeds from them had gone to the Canterbury West Coast Air Rescue Trust.

Despite the large number of bears for sale, Mrs Scarsbrook said they had sold out in three weeks.

She credited the success to the amount of tourists passing through the store — some of the teddies would travel as far away as the United Kingdom after capturing a tourist’s eye — and “the wonders of Facebook”.

Not wanting to leave her mother’s hard work gathering dust on a shop shelf, she used the social media page to advertise the rescue bears.

Her mother said she had simply seen a need which she had responded to.

Helicopters had been their lifeline in Kaikōura after the 2016 earthquakes, Mrs Smith said.

She and her husband live about 500m from where the Westpac Rescue helicopter landed at Kaikōura hospital.

“We see them come over every day and night.

“We are very fortunate to have that service here, to have it come and help our community whenever needed.

“Health incidents don’t discriminate — anyone can need the service at any time.”

She had been furiously knitting over the Covid lockdowns and created a special pattern for tiny bears, made with four-ply wool and thin needles.

The first 40 “sold like hot cakes” through the local museum as a fundraiser.

“And before I knew it, I had another 120 bears that needed a good home.

“I kept knitting the bears and then looked for somewhere I could sell them to raise funds for the Rescue Helicopter Trust.”

As the rescue helicopter benefited the whole of Canterbury, her daughter helped her by selling the bears through the Temuka shop.

“Mum is on a mission,” Mrs Scarsbrook said.

Her mother had been a volunteer all her life, was very community-minded and ready to help anyone.

“This is all her initiative.

“Mum is incredible — a great artist, wonderful baker, fantastic mother, gardener, very community minded, working to help whoever needs her.

“This is just one example of her giving back.”

Trust chief executive Christine Prince was thankful for Mrs Smith’s incredible work and generosity.

“Her intricate knitting, and dedication to the cause have resulted in a real boost for our lifesaving service.

“It means so much to our crew and pilots, and all the team, as well as the many communities across Canterbury that benefit from the helicopter.”

Mrs Smith is still knitting.