A HOSPICE has been inundated with teddies after it put out a desperate appeal to collect the fluffy friends for a much-loved fundraising game.

Hundreds of people responded to the appeal from Basildon’s St Luke’s Hospice, with 1,000 cuddly toys sent in in under a fortnight.

Leanne Kightly, of the hospice’s fundraising team, said they were blown away by the amount of support.

She said: “It has been amazing. We have had more than 1,000 donated. It has worked so well.

“Donations are always welcome and we always want more but we actually have enough to see us through until Christmas, which is amazing. There are still some people saying they have more to give us and of course we will happily take them.”

St Luke’s Hospice provides specialist, end of life care for people living throughout Basildon and Thurrock.

The fundraising team is often seen at events are fairs across south Essex to raise vital funds to keep their services going.

One of the games they run is ‘pick a pet’, where children pay a certain amount to receive an anonymous teddy to take home and care for.

But donations were running low and staff put out an appeal at the end of June for any teddies to be handed in so they could be given to a child in the future.

The post was shared more than 1,300 times with donations coming from across south Essex.

Parents posted on the Facebook page to say they were getting their children to sort out any old or unwanted teddies they could hand over while others offered to drive over any donations from people in their area.

Leanne said: “So many people have got behind us.

“I think the Facebook post was shared so many times it was seen by 120,000 people. It’s crazy.

“We are tripping over the teddies left, right and centre. We are always so well supported but we didn’t expect it to go viral. It’s fantastic how the community have really got behind us.”