THIS year is a very special one for my favourite furry friend, Paddington Bear – it is the 50th anniversary of the publication of the first Paddington book, written by Michael Bond. Paddington would love your readers to help him celebrate this milestone by joining in his Bring Your Bear event this June and raising money for his favourite charity, Action Medical Research.

Bring Your Bear is aimed at schools and nurseries across the UK, and raises funds for the charity’s Touching Tiny Lives Campaign to help sick and vulnerable babies. Paddington hopes this year’s event will be the biggest yet!

The idea is very simple and it’s easy to take part on any convenient day in June, Paddington’s birthday month. Each child is allowed to bring their teddy bear or favourite soft toy into class for the day in return for a £1 donation.

Older children can also have great fun taking part in Paddington’s new Suitcase Challenge. They will need to decorate a large matchbox in the style of his iconic suitcase and then fit as many different items as possible into it, with friends and family sponsoring them for each one. I’ve already made mine!

Every year in the UK about 70,000 babies need special care when they are born – that’s about one in ten babies. Through its Touching Tiny Lives Campaign, Action Medical Research is helping doctors across the country to find better ways to protect mums-to-be from the risk of pregnancy complications, reduce the incidence of premature birth, and treat those babies who need special care.

This work aims to give more babies a better start in life, and as a mum I know just how precious that is.

Please help Paddington mark his 50th anniversary in style by taking part in this wonderful event.

To register and receive your free resource pack visit

Zoe Ball