‘HE WAS a teddy that meant so much to my little boy when he was growing up’.
These are the touching words of a grief-stricken mum who has snapped images of her beloved boy’s favourite childhood toy.
Elaine Willoughby, 64, took the 42-year-old stuffed bear – better known as Ted – to special landmarks as an emotional tribute to her son Nathan Willoughby.
The 28-year-old dad-of-three died after a tragic fall from South Parade Pier in February, 2004.
Mrs Willoughby’s photo is one of several to mark Portsmouth charity The Roberts Centre’s Where’s The Bear competition this month.
Mrs Willoughby, of Lyndhurst Road, North End, said: ‘He loved his teddy so much. He hung on to it always and would carry Ted around by the neck – that’s why his neck is so long.’
Her shots, submitted as part of the competition – which is backed by The News and Spinnaker Tower – included pictures of Ted by Clarence Pier, the Round Tower and the Royal Garrison Church.
She said: ‘My son would have been 42 this September and he had a big relationship with his teddy when he was a boy.
‘He had an operation in hospital when he was six and Ted went with him.
‘We just wanted to take Ted to places that were special to Nathan growing up. He used to love going to the slot machines for parties, spending a few pennies on them.’
The competition is urging people to snap shots of their toys at landmarks across the Portsmouth, Waterlooville, Gosport, Fareham and Havant areas. It is all part of the 30th anniversary celebrations of the Roberts Centre, in Crasswell Street, Landport.
All ages can enter the competition, with the winners scooping a free family pass to Spinnaker Tower. To submit your entry, email firstname.lastname@example.org or for details call (023) 9229 6919.
The closing date is February 28.
n On Sunday at 3pm, a service will be held at Portsmouth Cathedral, in High Street, Old Portsmouth, thanking those who have helped the charity.