BY PHIL DUDEK
A loving family has celebrated the memory of their late grandad by having two specially made teddies crafted out of his favourite shirts.
Ben Strickland, 26, from Stockwell asked fashion company Grin and Bear to make the teddies in order to commemorate his granddad, Nick Nicholson, who died after a battle with dementia.
According to Ben, Mr Nicholson, who was in his late 80s when he died, was known for his great sense of style.
He said: “His wardrobe was full of immaculate, navy-standard folded shirts of the best quality, and in all of his jobs he was known as being the smartly dressed one.”
Ben wanted to have the teddies made as a present for his sister’s 24th birthday, and to cheer up his grandmother, whose teddy now takes pride of place on Nick’s side of the bed.
He saw the teddies as the perfect way to put some of the navy veteran’s shirts to good use.
Ben said: “I had already picked out the shirts that best fitted me and my own style after my grandad had passed away, and then had a big pile of ones destined for the charity shop.
“Some of them were just too nice to give away, and with my grandma still grieving and my sister’s 24th birthday coming up, I thought they could be repurposed and reloved as bears. Giving his shirts a new lease of life was the obvious choice.
“Both my sister and grandma are very pleased.”
Ben worked with Michael Dankwah, a former fashion designer and founder of Crystal Palace-based Grin & Bear, to create the teddy bears.
Ben said: “Michael was so personable when we discussed the designs and the quality is incredible.”
Michael, whose company also creates Christmas bears for Liberty London, said: “We offer a bespoke service because we want clients to be able to feel like anything is possible.
“Working with Ben has been so special and I’m so glad we were able to create two bears for his family to treasure for a lifetime.”