Tears of emotion - and smiles - as teddy bear cuddled for 99 years finds ‘wonderful’ new home

Posted on 19/09/2019 in Press Coverage

A teddy cherished by its owner for nearly a century ‘will be loved forever’ according to the woman who competed against bidders across the world to buy the toy at auction.

The cuddly toy, simply named ‘Bear’, belonged to the late Ida Goring and was by her side during an intense century of historical events which included two world wars, the sinking of the Titanic in 1912, the invention of an electronic television in 1927 and man walking on the Moon in 1969.

Born in 1913, Ida, who had three children, eight grandchildren and seven great grandchildren, died shortly before her 102nd birthday in 2015 – and her teddy was with her for 99 of those years.

The century-old bear sparked intense interest across the UK and around the world. Bids from America and two phone bidders joined the battle to take him home. But there was only one woman who was ever going to own Bear – Angela Underhill, a 57-year-old voluntary worker from Chester.

She paid a hammer price of £1,100 – more than 11 times Bear’s £70-£100 estimate at Derbyshire’s Hansons Auctioneers.

Miss Underhill, who has multiple sclerosis, a condition that can affect the brain and spinal cord causing problems with vision, arm or leg movement, said: “I just had to have Bear. I wanted to give him a home. It was such a gorgeous story. It resonated with me in so many ways.

“Bear’s been through two real wars and, because of my MS, I’ve been through the wars with my own teddy, Ermintrude by my side. He was given to me 57 years ago by my father when I was two weeks old. I was born with fluid on the brain, a condition Ida’s father suffered with.

“The two bears go together and will spend the rest of their days together. I’ll make sure they’re passed on through the generations. They will be loved forever.”

Ida Goring’s daughter Jenny Pickett, 62, a school dinner lady from Burton-on-Trent, Staffs, was so overwhelmed after the sale she couldn’t hold back the tears. “They’re happy tears because my mum loved him so much - and he’s made so much. I'm stunned.

"When I took the bear on the bus to be valued at Hansons I would have been happy with £50. It wasn't about the money. It was about finding an owner for Bear who would love him as much as mum did.

“She was given the bear when she was three years old in 1916 by her father, Joe Webb. She treasured it until she died in 2015. It used to sit on a chair and she’d sometimes dress it up in baby clothes. When my dad died, she’d put Bear on his side of the bed when she went to sleep. I think it brought her some comfort.”

Ida, who was born in the village of Overseal, South Derbyshire, married Wilf Goring in 1945 but lost her husband after 46 years of marriage in 1991. The loss hit hard but her treasured childhood teddy could never be taken away from her.

“My grandad was given the bear by a nurse when he was invalided out of the army during the First World War,” said Mrs Pickett. “He had hydrocephalus, water on the brain, and was sent to St Bartholomew's Hospital in London. A nurse asked him if he’d like the teddy for Ida and he said yes. We’ve got a wonderful picture of her with it when she was about three years old.

“The teddy’s just been sat in a box in my spare bedroom for the last four years so I decided it was time to part with him.”

Money raised from selling Bear is being put to good use following the loss of Ida’s son and Mrs Pickett’s brother, David Goring, who died at the age of 67 in 2016.

Mrs Pickett said: “My niece can’t afford a headstone for David as they cost thousands of pounds. I want this money to help her.”

Charles Hanson, owner of Hansons, said: “What an incredibly moving story and result. It’s a privilege to play our part in helping Jenny’s family and pave the way for Bear to find a wonderful new loving home with Angela.”

Steve Fulford, toy valuer at Hansons, said: “I’m not at all surprised Ida and Angela have kept their toys for life. People have a very strong attachment to teddies because, often, they’re the first toy you’re given as a child. They’re awash with nostalgia, reminding us of our childhood and parental love.”

Bear was sold at Hansons, Heage Lane, Etwall, Derbyshire, DE65 6LS, on September 19. To find out more or to arrage a free toy valuation, email [email protected].