Today we’re looking at the story of this antique teddy bear that was found in a Bristol Airport departure lounge back in February 2012.
The bear was found in a carrier bag in the lounge, along with a photo of two children holding the bear.
Most intriguing of all, the photo was dated March 1918!
On the reverse of the postcard was a message that read ‘With dearest love and x’s to our darling Daddie from your loving little daughter & sonnie Dora and Glyn’.
A second message on the postcard read: ‘taken on Baby’s birthday March 4th 1918, one year and five-months-old.’
Bristol Airport police and security tried to trace the passenger, but to no avail, so they asked the public for help.
Bristol Airport made the public appeal after spending 14 months looking through flight records trying to find any two passengers with the same names as those mentioned on the back of the picture post card.
The airport’s appeal received huge interest from people around the world, with teddy bear manufacturers, photography studios, historians and members of the online family history forum RootsChat.com all getting in touch and offering to help.
“We Have Found the Family…”
Eventually, in December 2013, Bristol Airport spokesperson Jacqui Mills announced: “We have now been able to source the history of the photograph and we think we have found the family that the bear belongs to.”
‘Darling Daddie’ refers to Nicholas Baker who was killed in Baghdad in World War One, only months after receiving the photograph and the little children referred to are Dora and Glyn Baker from the Abergavenny area of South Wales.
“We just want to try and find a relation today who might know some more history about who the bear belongs to,” Mills said at the time, “We believe there are living relatives but we haven’t yet been able to find them.”
Ms Mills added that BBC Antiques Roadshow expert Hilary Kaye thought the teddy bear was made by the British manufacturer Farnells, and was of the type that inspired A.A. Milne’s Winnie the Pooh stories.
“I Thought It Was Lost Forever…”
Following a campaign by The Mature Times — a newspaper for the over 50s — the owner was finally found.
Robert Glyn Baker saw the story and recognised the 100 year-old teddy bear as the family heirloom he lost while travelling through Bristol Airport on his way to Cyprus.
Mr Baker said: “I was stunned when I got a cutting of the Mature Times in the post and saw my bear on the front page. I thought it was lost forever, I was convinced it had been destroyed.”
Robert, who lives in Cyprus, was so shocked when he realised his bear was the subject of a public appeal he immediately rang the paper to try and get him back.
“I’m an only child and my auntie Dora didn’t have any children either so I am the only person that could have got the bear.” Robert said.
“My mum gave him a different nose, he has pads on his arms too. I think I gave him a rough time when I was a kid!
“It’s the sentimental value really, my hands were so full with what I was carrying I thought I had left it in the toilet. I had so much with me, but like a fool I left it in the airport.
“I would love to have it back.”
A Happy Ending
Robert eventually was able to claim the Bristol Bear, but the story doesn’t end there.
With no young family members to pass the bear onto, Robert decided in 2015 to sell it at auction in order to find the Bristol Bear a new home and raise some money for Children’s Hospice South West.
In the end, Bristol Bear was sold at auction for a whopping £2,200!