Being away at sea for months at a time can be a lonely and isolating experience for seafarers who are unable to see their families and friends, but a group of Suffolk knitters are helping to make the time more bearable.

Felixstowe resident Rachel Rogers started making teddy bears for seafarers' children and grandchildren in January 2023 after being contacted by the Port of Felixstowe's then chaplain Keith Stott asking if she could get the project started to help spread God's love around the world.

Since then, she has recruited a 20-strong group of knitters from Felixstowe and surrounding parishes who have created hundreds of the bears which have travelled in the cabins of ships to places as far afield as Japan, Ukraine, Russia and the Philippines.

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Once the bears - which come in a range of different clothes and colours - have been created, they are collected by the port chaplain and distributed to the seafarers who arrive at the port.

She said: "The idea was to spread God's love around the world and some of the seafarers keep them in their cabins and some take them to their families."

Charity The Mission To Seafarers, which supports men and women working at sea, says there are more than 1.89 million seafarers around the world who often spend up to nine months away from families, which can often lead to loneliness and mental health issues.

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East Anglian Daily Times: Rachel Rogers and other knitters have created hundreds of teddy bears for seafarersRachel Rogers and other knitters have created hundreds of teddy bears for seafarers (Image: Newsquest)The aim of providing the teddy bears to these seafarers was to encourage them to open up and to spark deeper conversations with them.

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Rachel said: "It is very much a cottage industry. People can make the teddy bears at home. Knitting is very portable so you take the knit anywhere."

She is keen to hear from more knitters who can contact her by emailing her at

She added: "I love doing it and the knowledge that they are all going to be gifted. It is basically God's love going into the world to bring joy and happiness to other people."

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