A PRESTONPANS woman is inviting other East Lothian residents join in with her massive bear hunt.

It was organised by Jodie Donaldson who lives in the town’s Northfield Gardens with her partner Steven and daughter Lexii, a primary two pupil at Preston Tower Infant School.

On why she started it Jodie, who is 20 weeks pregnant and currently studying at Edinburgh Napier University, said: “My daughter and her friends take teddy bears to school sometimes on a Friday, but of course they are not going to see each other.

“So I thought why not put bears in the window and then they can see them when they are out on a walk and wave at them and say hello.”

Jodie then decided to set up a Facebook group last Monday (March 23) to encourage others to join in and put teddy bears in their windows to, in her words, “spread a little happiness” and have something fun for the children.

Jodie added: “I’m pregnant at the moment and when this all happened I was kind of like ‘oh jeez’.

“My partner works in retail in a food shop so he has to go to work so I’m really concerned and needed something to keep my mind occupied, I’m such a worrier.”

She initially called it East Lothian Bear Hunt and saw images shared from all over the county.

However, in three days over 3,000 people had joined the group and were sharing images from all over the world, as far away as New Zealand, Australia, South Africa and Canada.

It was renamed ‘The Big Bear Hunt’ and now has almost 6,000 members.

Jodie said: “I’m absolutely blown away. I was definitely not expecting it to get as big, but I guess that is how social media works.

“I can’t believe how much it’s spread. All I wanted was two or three people to smile and I’ve managed to do just that.

“I’m quite surprised at how many people of all generations it has attracted. It’s bringing them all back to their younger days.

“There’s some bears that have been posted in the group that are 100 years old and falling to bits, people are going up into their attics and bringing their own old ones down and are telling stories from when they were a child.

“There’s been over 50,000 comments so far and most of them are people sharing their childhood stories, they aren’t even talking about the virus.”

Jodie said that Lexii has been collecting beanie baby teddy bears since she was born so is “very excited to get them all out”.

She added: “It’s given her that distraction that she needed. She’s been out with Steven looking for more.”

Jodie is in talks with people who can knit bears and is hoping that a bunch can be made and auctioned off, she is hoping this will happen in the next couple of weeks.

The bears are going to be NHS bears and will also be raising money for them.