CHILDREN attending a hospital’s emergency department will be given a teddy to ease their anxiety during their visit.

Young visitors to Harrogate District Hospital (HDH) will benefit from the Teddies for Loving Care (TLC) Appeal, which is supported by the Harrogate Freemasons.

The Freemasons provide the free teddies by fundraising throughout Yorkshire. The aim is to offer comfort to children in an alien and potentially bewildering environment.

Teddies can help staff with distraction and play therapy and can be used to demonstrate treatments like bandaging. Children can keep the teddies when they go home.

The emergency department at HDH treats more than 8,000 children a year. It has a dedicated children’s waiting area and treatment room and some team members who are specially trained in dealing with children.

Department matron, Stephanie Davis, said: "We’re very grateful to the Freemasons for offering this wonderful scheme. Coming into hospital can be quite scary for some children and the emergency department is often a very busy and sometimes noisy environment so it helps the staff here a great deal when we can give worried children a lovely teddy.

"The teddies work very well as distraction, so the child has something to cuddle and give attention to, and help to take their mind off how unwell and frightened they might feel. Plus if this makes the child more relaxed it means we can take care of them and provide appropriate treatment efficiently."