Grandparents who hadn’t hugged their grandchildren since March shared a loving hug, thanks to the brilliant idea of wearing inflatable polar bear costumes.
Barbara and Clive Walshaw said the heartwarming hug was the “best six minutes” they had all year.
They got to hug their three grandchildren Quinn, six, Morgan, eight, and Mackenzie, 14, for the first time since March 1, after surprising them with the costumes.
The couple had isolated themselves and Barbara said it was heartbreaking for the children when they were told they couldn’t come see them on Christmas.
They had originally planned to spend Christmas “together” on a Zoom call with a laptop at the end of the table.
But the resourceful grandmother stumbled upon inflatable polar bears while doing Christmas shopping online and realized she had found a way to safely hug her beloved grandchildren on December 25.
She said it was the “best £ 15 she had ever spent” as it brought her so much joy and a “pure Christmas spirit”.
The couple, who are in their 70s, snuck into their grandchildren’s home in Kirkstall, Leeds, and hugged her while she was protected by the 6-foot costumes.
“It was very difficult for all the guys,” says Barbara. “We usually spend Christmas Day with them and wonder what we were going to do with everything that was going on.”
The united family usually spends two to three days a week together, with a spare room for the children to spend the night.
“The costumes worked very well. Fully closed. I think it was the best idea I’ve ever had. “
“The youngest kid was a little intimidated by these huge polar bears, but when he realized it was us, he was so charming. So many hugs. It was incredible.”
“Everyone was so happy in those six minutes. And we laugh and cry. I loved.”
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Around noon on Christmas Day, Neil Walshaw, 45, and his wife Hazel, told their three children they had heard a rumor that there were polar bear sightings in Kirkstall.
When they came out, they saw their grandparents jumping hysterically in the huge costumes.
Her youngest son, Quinn, was so shocked when he saw his grandmother and grandmother walk home that he ran back to the house and out again “to make sure it was real.”
Neil said it was the best hug his kids had ever had and a memory they will “never forget.”
“They are the best grandparents in Leeds. They are just fantastic. “
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