Bradford Royal Infirmary welcomes Baggins the Bear

Kelly Thornham News

Baggins the Bear has officially arrived on the hospital wards of Bradford!

The fictional bear, which was created to help relax and distract young patients having surgery with anaesthesia, was waiting on the beds of children for the first time as they arrived on Ward 12 for their ENT procedures.

Bradford Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust is the first in the region to introduce the Baggins the Bear journey, which is funded by its official NHS charity – Bradford Hospitals’ Charity.

Watch how Baggins transformed the hospital journey of one little boy, Kian: https://youtu.be/NNrj4CPWVSg

Baggins the Bear is introduced to children when they receive their hospital appointment through the post. The children receive the following:

  • A personalised letter through the post from Baggins the Bear explaining when and where their operation will take place, and what will happen on the day.
  • A link to the Baggins the Bear website, where the child can watch an animated film of Baggins going in for his operation, explaining in age-appropriate language what will happen when the child has their operation.
  • When the child arrives in hospital on the day of surgery, they receive a bag which contains: a Baggins the Bear soft toy and a booklet with the story of Baggins the Bear having an operation, with fun activities to distract them in hospital.
  • A life-size ‘Big Baggins the Bear’ greets children as they arrive at the operating theatre with their parent/guardian, so they can have their photo taken before surgery.
  • A Baggins the Bear poster is displayed in the pre-operating room to distract children as they are given anaesthesia.
  • After the operation, they receive a Baggins the Bear bravery certificate, and they can take their bear and activities home.

Andy Yates, Team Leader at Bronte Theatres, said Baggins was a real game changer for Bradford Teaching Hospitals. “We’ve had great feedback from parents and it has been evident to see when the children arrived in theatre with their bears in tow!” he said.

“Watching the children go into the anaesthetic room freely without parents having to carry them in because they are scared has been a real pleasure to see. It’s wonderful that they no longer see hospitals as a scary place and that doctors and nurses are not scary people. They very much interacted and the feedback was very positive.

“We can’t wait to keep building on this pathway to make it the very best paediatric and patient pathway in the region, if not further.”

Paediatric Sister Alison Childs said: “I was lucky enough to be working the day children met Baggins for the first time. It was lovely to see the children and parents opening the bags and receiving their Baggins the Bears. It brought smiles to their faces and made the experience of coming into hospital a little less scary. They also liked going to look for Baggins’ big brother down in theatre and were excited when they returned to tell me they had found him!”

Rebecca Green, of Idle, brought her daughter, Bettie-Sue, four, for a tonsillectomy. She said: “She was very worried about the operation when I told her about it. It was only when she watched the Baggins video that she said she would come. She saw Baggins had been brave so she wanted to come and be brave like Baggins.”

Caprice Tomlinson, of Holmewood, brought her son Kian (who features in the film), three, in for a tonsillectomy. She said: “He watched the Baggins video and really enjoyed it. At first, he said he wasn’t coming into hospital, but when he saw the Baggins video he became excited. It’s made me feel a lot better because he’s not been as anxious.”

It is estimated the bears and associated products will cost around £20,000 each year for Bradford Hospitals’ Charity to fund.

Sharon Milner, Director of Bradford Hospitals’ Charity, said: “Who doesn’t love a bear to cuddle? The children who come in for surgery will always remember that Baggins the Bear brought them comfort. We hope he will continue to put a smile on their faces when they take him home, and that he will leave them with happy memories of their time in hospital.

“It’s heart-warming to hear stories from the nursing staff that Baggins is having such a positive impact on children. As a charity, we are incredibly proud to be funding this project.”

A spokesperson for Intersurgical, who created the concept of Baggins, said: “In recent years there has been an increased awareness of perioperative stress in children undergoing anaesthesia. It is estimated that 50-75 per cent of children develop significant anxiety before their surgery.


“We offer a number of paediatric products to assist in distracting and relaxing a child undergoing anaesthesia, which can be identified by the Baggins the Bear design.”

Anyone wishing to make a donation to fund Baggins the Bears can do so at https://bradfordhospitalscharity.enthuse.com/cf/baggins-the-bear

  • A monthly donation of £3 will provide one bear per month to a child.
  • A one-off donation of £30 will enable our Trust to supply bears to a ward of children on a typical day of surgery.
Sister Alison Childs with Kian