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Belfast couple who made life in lockdown more bear-able raise over £4,000 for charity

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Morris and Jenny Corrin at their east Belfast home with just a few of their 60 teddy bears

Morris and Jenny Corrin at their east Belfast home with just a few of their 60 teddy bears

Kevin Scott / Belfast Telegraph

Morris and Jenny Corrin at their east Belfast home with just a few of their 60 teddy bears

A shielding couple who filled their garden with 60 teddy bears in a variety of poses just to put a smile on the faces of passers-by have raised more than £4,000 for charity.

Morris Corrin and his wife Jenny decided on April 7 to share their collection - which includes 22 Harrod's Bears - with their east Belfast neighbours as a fun way to pass the time during the coronavirus lockdown.

For the past 60 days the bears have been meticulously re-arranged in a different pose with the exception of Sundays when the bears are placed in a church setting.

But now the couple have decided they will put the bears into "hibernation" on June 16.

Before that, they hope to push their fundraising for Marie Curie Cancer Care over the £5,000 mark but also want to remind people flocking to their home in Kensington Road of the importance of maintaining social distancing as they are shielding.

Speaking to the Belfast Telegraph, Mr Corrin said he and his wife are overjoyed with the donations they have received for Marie Curie.

He said: "We had the bears out for three weeks before we put out the collection bucket so we are over the moon with the amount we have raised for Marie Curie.

"They are based on this street and it is a charity that everybody relates to but we didn't for a second think we would get as many donations as we have by people just walking past our house.

"So far we have raised over £4,000 but we hope that by the time we bring the bears back inside the final total will be in excess of £5,000.

"We never expected to have the response to the bears that there has been. Every day we put them in a different themed pose except for Sundays when we always do church, Sunday school and creches, and then on Saturdays the theme will be sport of one kind or another.

"Now we are in the winding down stage and the bears will be going into hibernation. We have decided to repeat our top ten favourites including Northern Ireland Bake Off and Wimbledon."

When the Belfast Telegraph first covered what the couple were doing - the idea initially was to put a smile on the faces on people walking past their home, but now Mr Corrin said he and his wife have benefited so much as well.

Mr Corrin continued: "My wife loves teddy bears and I always got her a Harrods bear as part of her Christmas present when I used to go back and forward to London on business, so now she has 22 and around 60 different bears in total. We have been so fortunate with the weather but I have put the gazebo up in case it rains because these bears are very precious.

"My wife is shielding and because she is I am too, so we haven't been beyond our garden gate in ten weeks. We started this because we wanted to put a smile on people's faces. As the weeks have passed we have heard more and more about the effects being in lockdown is having on people's mental health and even our Minister said how beneficial this has been for everyone," he said.

"It has been of great benefit to us too because we have enjoyed seeing people saying hello from the other side of the gate and of course knowing we have raised so much for Marie Curie has been the icing on the cake."

Belfast Telegraph