A CUTE teddy bear called Av-it is undertaking a nationwide tour of duty to raise funds for Cancer Research – and to honour the memory of a Scarborough sporting great.
Carole McLean, who won the national indoor singles title last winter, played bowls for England in June, just a few days before she died in a Scarborough Hospital aged just 27.
Friends have spoken of her bubbly personality, which lit up the nation’s bowling greens, and she was in everyone’s thoughts in Bristol last weekend, when the English women’s international trial was held.
Also present at Bristol was Av-it the Bear, who is the brainchild of a number of Carole’s friends who attended her funeral in July.
“We were looking for a way of remembering Carole, and came up with the idea of a fundraising exercise that would also be a lot of fun,” said Matt Marsden, one of the tour organisers, from the City of Ely.
“The bear, who is on a mission, will be the focus of a fun-day at a series of clubs all over Britain, and I’m proud to say Av-it has already visited five clubs, and has raised more than £1,000,” Mr Marsden added.
Why Av-it? “It was Carole’s favourite phrase,” explains Mr Marsden. “Carole used to shout ‘Av-it!’ when one of her scorching deliveries took out an enemy bowl – so it was the perfect name for the bear!”
Av-it was dressed in the colours of Glasgow Rangers as Carole was an avid fan of the Scottish football giants.
Carole had been the Scarborough Indoor Bowling Club ladies singles champion for the past 11 years, the ladies’ pairs title holder with different partners since 2004, and had numerous successes in triples and fours competitions.
And this year she became the English women’s national indoor singles champion.
A week of fundraising events held at Scarborough Indoor Bowls Centre last month in memory of Carole raised more than £1,500 for Cancer Research.