Billingham Stars and their Supporters Club are holding their fourth annual Teddy Toss this weekend, hoping to beat last year’s total of 170 bears plus numerous toys and gifts collected for older children.
Taking their cue from the traditional Christmas Teddy Toss in North America, the NIHL1 North club have collected in excess of 450 soft toys and gifts over the past three years.
Usually the bears are thrown when the home team scores their first goal, however the pad at Billingham Forum is protected by netting at all times so the Supporters Club have had to adapt a little, with bears thrown at the end of the first period.
These donations are taken by the players to two local hospitals in the run-up to Christmas and given to children who are unable to return home for the holidays to spread a little festive cheer.
The staff at James Cook University Hospital in Middlesbrough and Darlington Memorial have always given the team a warm welcome, and they are visits the players very much look forward to every year.
Previous visiting teams to the Forum on Teddy Toss Night have always supported the event well, and as this year’s Teddy Toss will be held during the North East derby against Whitley Warriors the Stars are hoping for a bumper crop of bears.
Such small gestures can bring joy to children who may not have too much to smile about and help make it a merrier Christmas for families across Teesside.