Red Knights collect teddy bears made by Fulham prisoners for the Keith Hamilton Toy Run

THIS year’s Red Knights Keith Hamilton Toy Run will feature teddy bears made by prisoners from Fulham Correctional Centre.

The teddies have been made from recycled materials, and will be forwarded to the Red Knights for its toy run on Saturday, December 14.

Fulham correctional officer Helen Dolan said the sense of Christmas joy shone through even in a prison environment.

“The prisoners love it – my deal is they can make one for their own family at home and then they make a donated bear,” she said.

The initiative has resulted in other benefits for inmates. “I just find that they can sit down and be calm and quiet in a room and quite often they might just express a problem they’re having and we can talk one-on-one – and that’s a big deal in a prison,” Ms Dolan said.

“It shows they’ve got a heart.

“There is another side there, especially when they’ve got little ones themselves at home that they know these [the bears] are going to go out to kids who are a bit behind the eight ball.

“Quite often when you talk to someone calmly one-on-one it’s a different person to the one who was perhaps standing in court a few months earlier.”

Red Knights president Andy Young praised the prison for its work, and is looking forward to another successful toy run.

“We sent letters to a lot of businesses around Sale and the prison sent us a letter back saying we could come and pick up 25 teddies made by the prisoners to hand out to the kids,” he said.

“It’s terrific to get this sort of support.

“I love doing toy runs – it’s the best thing since sliced bread.”

Santa will also make an appearance during this year’s ride.

Source: Gippsland Times