One hot sunny day, Leo and his Teddy had a beach adventure planned. Bucket and spade, swimsuits, and a picnic all packed and ready to go!
WHAT A DAY! Daddy was buried up to his neck in sand, then realised he hadn’t put sun cream on. Mummy was running and jumping into the sea, then ran frantically out again (the water was like frostbite on her skin). Leo’s baby sister was fascinated with the sand, then quickly found that sand wasn’t the best thing to eat. Leo was in his element, playing with the other children and having sandcastle competitions, before stamping and roaring like a dinosaur over his own creation, then building a new sandcastle. Teddy looked cool in his sunnies and swimsuit. It was an AWESOME day!
THEN……..ALL of a sudden Leo made a run for it into the sea with Teddy! I’m not sure how but, Daddy launched into ‘Daddy mode’ and within a millisecond he managed to free himself from the sand, and like a scene out of Baywatch doing a ‘Hasselhoff’ run into the sea (not the slow mo we’re thinking of, more like sand flying everywhere, running like he had a wedgy as he tried to tighten up his shorts, trampling over the winning sandcastle masterpiece that took hours to build). Leo isn’t afraid of water and a confident swimmer but, parents are always on high alert when it comes to a potentially dangerous situation. What Daddy didn’t realise was that Leo stopped when the sea reached his ankles, he just wanted to wash the sand off Teddy before they went home. Daddy scooped Leo up in his arms and rushed him back to the family, panic over!
BUT WAIT!!!!!...........WHERE’S TEDDY????? Leo’s tears rolling down his little face, pointing to the sea! Mummy braved the cold water and searched for his Teddy but, without any luck.
OH DEAR - Teddy was lost!
Out at sea, the tides drift Teddy further and further away, what a terrifying ordeal this must be! Just then a seal popped his head up and nudged Teddy. The seal tried to play with Teddy but, was puzzled about what this motionless marine creature could be. The seal swam away, and Teddy lay still in the sea.
PLOP……….OH NO!!!! Seagull poo! Just what you need when you’re lost at sea.
A night goes by, and huge waves are created by the high winds. Teddy is in the middle of a storm but, a sudden rush underneath the sea picks up Teddy………could it be a………….no it couldn’t…….not in these British cold waters………or has climate change made these waters a new home for the……………no don’t be silly! Or maybe it’s a GREAT WHITE SHARK……..YIKES!!! No, of course not! Well yes, it’s a shark, but the kindest and one of the most gentle of all sharks: the Basking Shark. They look scary, but they only eat plankton. PHEW!!!
The storm passes and the sea is calm once more. The waters are warmer and not as deep. OH, HANG ON……a blade just bumped Teddy out of the way and bellowing voices are shouting “POWER FOR 10”……..”LONG AND STRONG”………..”TIMING”……….and “GIVE IT SOME WELLY”. Teddy is in the midst of a coastal rowing race! Adrenaline eyes and sweaty faces, the rowers were giving it their all. Their boats catching a surf on the waves to gain that extra push for a win. What an extraordinary sight!
Another day goes by, and Teddy now belongs to the sea. BUT………JUST THEN…….OUT OF NOWHERE……a net pulls Teddy out of the water. But not just any old net………a net from the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (that seagull poo was lucky after all). Rescued and safe because of a charity that saves lives at sea. Teddy is washed, dried, patched up, and a new outfit replaces his worn out sunnies and swimsuit (he looked brand new again). Teddy even makes it on the local news……..now known as the RNLI Teddy. Leo’s parents watched the news and a thought ran through their heads…….could it be our Teddy……Impossible……NO CHANCE! Just then Leo stopped playing with his toys and looked intensely at the Teddy on TV……a teary smile and a sense of relief lit up his little face (his parents didn’t notice the worn out sunnies and swimsuit in the corner of the TV screen). But Leo knew it was his Teddy, and nowin good hands with a new sea family. Leo gently whispered, “Love you Teddy”, then went back to playing with his toys. From that day on, RNLI Teddy helps keep children safe by spreading the rules of the sea.
And that my friends, is how the RNLI got their Teddy.
Written by: Marie Tudor-Murphy
Dedicated to: My Darling Leo💙