When Paul Sweeney’s mum handed him a hand-knitted teddy bear on his first day in charge of his own police station, it’s fair to say he was a little taken aback.
“Mum I’m too old for a teddy bear,” the ACT prosecutor insisted. He had been hoping for a coffee mug.
“Firstly, you’re not. No one is,” she scolded. “Secondly, it’s not for you. It’s a trauma bear, for any kid you think needs it.”
Sweeney shared the heart-warming anecdote on his Facebook in March, it has since been shared more than 28,000 times and attracted more than 161,000 likes.
“Three months later I’m asking a little boy to do a big job,” he said in the post. “There was a scared bear in my police truck that needed looking after. And, while his world dissolved in sirens and lights that boy kept that bear safe and took him home.”
Sweeney’s mum Madelene, who he describes as his hero, has been knitting teddies for young victims of crime for more than 25 years.
“Mum has made hundreds of things,” he said.
“Trauma bears for victims of crime, quilts to warm rehabilitating drug addicts during the chill of withdrawal, booties and mittens for premature babies.
“There’s something in the stitching, a kind of grandma magic I suppose.”
His post was so popular it even made the nightly news in Canberra (post continues after):
“I just wanted a way to say, look mum, not only do I appreciate what you do … but other people appreciate it too,” he told Win News Canberra.