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Saturday, December 10, 2016

Filmstar bear's terrific response

AN ART teacher has been overwhelmed with the response to her one-of-a-kind teddy bear which has been spreading festive cheer in Denbighshire.

Sarah Chapman, aged 57, from Llandegla, created Carys, the six-foot bespoke bear which stars in Denbighshire County Council’s Christmas shopping video.

The two-minute  film has been produced to showcase the wide range of local shops in the county and as well as telling the story of Carys’ magical journey, features a family completing their Christmas shopping in Denbighshire with all gifts bought from local traders.

Making the bear took Sarah 50 hours, seven metres of material and 10kg of stuffing.

The mum-of-two started making rag dolls and soft toys when she was still at school near Brecon, South Wales, and now runs her handmade teddy bear business, Bilberry Bears.

Sarah said: “I have done a lot of different jobs over the years and never had any formal training as an artist.

“A few years ago I had the inspiration to make individual fabric bears.

“I’m slowly building up the business, it is just me, there is no big production line.”

Sarah was approached by Frozen Moon Productions, who produced the film on behalf of the Council, to make a bear costume modelled on one of her creations.

She said: “I was pleased to be asked but I went into a panic, I’ve never made a 6ft bear costume before.

“It was very stressful but the reaction has been fantastic. People love Carys and everyone says the video is fantastic. It is a really heart-warming story and it supports local businesses which I love.

“I have been overwhelmed. I have had a lot of lovely responses. People have been showing a real interest after the film.”

Sarah, who has been teaching art at St Mary's Catholic Primary School, Wrexham, for 12 years also writes poetry and makes greeting cards.

She said: “It is great to work with the children. I love it. I learn as much from them as they do from me.

“They have seen the film and all the children have said they love it.”

Leader of Denbighshire, Councillor Hugh Evans OBE, said: “This is a fantastic film with a heart-warming story and a really important message – shop locally this Christmas.

“All the businesses featured are based in Denbighshire and the film shows the huge range of products and services available.

“As a Council we want to see local businesses succeed as this ensures money spent locally stays in Denbighshire and helps create a thriving economy.”

More than 50 children, from Rhyl, Prestatyn, Ruthin, Bala, Corwen, Denbigh and St Asaph, aged six – to 17 from Denbigh Stagecoach also performed in the film.

For a chance to win Carys, who has now been transformed into a smaller bear, visit Denbighshire County Council’s Facebook page or to view the clip visit the Council’s YouTube page.

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