Britain’s oldest remaining teddy bear manufacturer, Merrythought, has teamed up with the Royal British Legion to create a series of special commemorative teddy bears for the charity’s centenary.

Merrythought has designed two limited edition bears, each of which will be handmade in the firm’s historic British factory and will help to raise vital funds for the charity.

The first character the firm will unveil is ‘The Royal British Legion Centenary Bear’, a collectable bear, fully dressed in a detailed veteran’s outfit complete with medals.

Fourth-generation managing director Sarah Holmes said she is immensely proud of the partnership.

“Myself and the team here at Merrythought are honoured to be working with the Royal British Legion during such a milestone year, especially since this remarkable charity is so close to the nation’s hearts,” said Sarah.

“People have their own personal links to the forces and reasons to support the charity. For me, my grandfather Trayton Holmes proudly served in the Royal Air Force during the Second World War before going on to become the Merrythought managing director in 1949.

“The Merrythought team at the time also helped a lot with the war effort, making a variety of textile items such as gas mask covers, kit bags, and clothing.”

Ben France, Head of Corporate Partnerships at the Royal British Legion said: “We are delighted to be working in partnership with Merrythought and we are very grateful for their generous pledge of donations on their products.

“These collectors’ items are a wonderful way to mark our centenary. The donations raised will be used to provide life-long support to serving and ex-serving members of the British Armed Forces, their families and dependents through hardships, injuries and bereavements.”

Handmade in Ironbridge, Shropshire, Merrythought teddy bears are world-renowned, each one handmade in a delicate, 15-stage process which uses the finest skills and natural materials.

The Royal British Legion Centenary Bear has been made to a limited edition of 5,000pcs and is available exclusively from Danbury Mint. He is priced at £299, with a donation of £25 going to the charity.

A special bear to mark 100 years of the Royal British Legion’s Poppy Appeal will be launched later in the year and will be available from www.merrythought.com, as well as other good retailers.