A teddy bear that has been photographed all over the world in memory of a late Leeds five year old is at the centre of a campaign to name an aeroplane.
Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust (LTH) staff and the family of the late Colin Reilly, who passed away in 2010 due to chronic lung disease, are appealing for votes to make the Colin Bear story go global.
The bear has been taken around the world by staff at LTH after Colin, from Chapel Allerton, was told he couldn’t have his wish of flying to Disneyland for medical reasons.
More than 600 people have backed the campaign to name a Thomson plane after Colin Bear including the Brownlees.
Sam Reilly, Colin’s mum, donated the teddy bear which was originally dressed in hospital scrubs to LTH as it reminded her family of Colin, who often dressed up in a similar outfit.
“It’s incredible to think that he’s still that important to anybody else or that anyone can still remember him but he’s still talked about all the time,” she said. “I didn’t think what happened would happen. I didn’t expect them to talk about the bear as they do and to do what they have done is amazing.”
She added that Colin’s well known saying of “I do a lot for charity but I don’t like to talk about it” would be poignant if a plane was named after Colin Bear, as his family would donate the £2,500 prize to charity.
Tracey Martin, play leader at LTH, now organises an annual charity calendar of Colin Bear sold at the trust, while there is a Facebook group dedicated to his annual adventures to places like Uganda, Majorca and Portugal.
She said: “Before he passed away and was poorly he said he wanted to go on a bus or a plane but he couldn’t. I just thought it would be fitting to keep the Colin Bear thing going.”
Entries to the competition close on Monday at 12noon. Visit nameourplane.com/name/capt-colin-bear.