A HUGE teddy bear is being raffled off to raise money for the Sophie Lancaster Foundation.
The bear – nicknamed Big Ted – has been living at Moo’s Mens Gents Hairdressers in Rawtenstall, after being donated by Lee Gueller, from PX Trade Centre in Stacksteads.
Owner of the Kay Street salon Michelle Stamp-Woodward said: “I began the raffle after Lee donated the bear to us, but then my mum Laura became ill with terminal cancer. I spent the last eight months caring for her at home along with my sister Joanne. Mum passed away in January.
“I am now back part-time at the salon and I want Big Ted to have a proper home and be loved. Hopefully he will also raise lots of money for the charity.”
The Sophie Lancaster Foundation was set up by family and friends after Sophie’s death in 2007 after she was attacked in Stubbylee Park, Bacup, along with her boyfriend. They were attacked for dressing differently.
Raffle tickets are being sold for £1 a strip and the winner will be drawn on the first week of June.
“We have always supported charities,” said Michelle. “We sell the SOPHIE wristbands and also the Sophie book Weirdo Mosher Freak and we also collect for Cancer Research UK and the RAFT Foundation.
“Unfortunately we can’t keep donation tins on the counter because one was stolen a couple of years ago, but our customers are very generous.
“My best friend is Odette Freeman who is also good friends with Sylvia Lancaster and her family and I support the charity whenever I can.”
Michelle, 45, is a larger than life character and has been hairdressing for nearly 30 years. She was also on Cilla Black’s Blind Date in 2001 when she went of a date to India with London lorry driver Lloyd – they still remain good friends.
She said: “The past eight months have been a very difficult time for me, but I am grateful to staff, friends and family for helping me through it. I could not have done it without them.
“Now I am back, albeit part-time, I am hoping we can rekindle our charitable efforts starting with saying goodbye to Big Ted. After all he doesn’t really fit in with the cows that feature prominently in the salon.”
As well as the bear, complete with SOPHIE T-shirt, the winner will receive a SOPHIE wristband and an autographed copy of Weirdo Mosher Freak .