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Grandparents wear polar bear costumes so they can finally hug their grandkids after 9 months

The kids were devastated after being told they couldn't meet their grandparents for Christmas. Then their grandparents orchestrated the sweetest surprise.

Grandparents wear polar bear costumes so they can finally hug their grandkids after 9 months
Image Source: Facebook/Hazel Walshaw

The pandemic hasn't been easy on any of us. With elderly people being more susceptible to the virus, many of them have been forced to stay indoors and haven't been able to meet their loved ones. This can be extremely hard during the Christmas holidays as it's a time families catch up with each other. For some, it's the only time they get to meet their grandkids. One couple was so desperate to meet their grandkids after nine long months that they found a loophole. Barbara and Clive Walshaw, a couple from Leeds, England, donned inflatable polar bear costumes just so they could hug their grandkids. In a year that's been forgettable, Barbara and Clive, who are in their 70s, described the hug as the "best six minutes" of the year, reported The Daily Mail.  



The grandchildren had no idea they were going to meet their grandparents. Barbara and Clive Walshaw dressed up in inflatable polar bear costumes to surprise them. They hugged their three grandkids—Quinn, six, Morgan, eight, and Mackenzie, 14—for the first time since March 1, 2020, and held them in an embrace for a long time. The kids were devastated when they were told they couldn't see their grandparents for Christmas this year. Given the rising coronavirus cases in the UK, and the detection of a more contagious strain of the virus, the family decided it was best to protect Barbara and Clive Walshaw and the family by not meeting up for the holiday. They planned to spend Christmas together via a Zoom call by keeping their laptops at the end of their respective dinner tables. 



It was Barbara who came up with the idea of using an inflatable costume as she was shopping online. She realized it was the perfect way to meet her grandchildren. She and Clive would be protected by their 6-ft inflatable costume while also getting to meet their kids and grandkids on Christmas in Kirkstall, Leeds. Barbara Walshaw called it the “best £15 she’d ever spent” as it brought so much joy and a “pure Christmas spirit.”


“It was really hard on all of the boys,” said Barbara. “We normally spend Christmas day with them and we wondered what we were going to do with all that’s been going on.” It helped the family spend 2-3 days every week together. “The costumes worked really well. Totally enclosed. It was the best idea I’ve ever had I think." Neil Walshaw, 45, and his wife Hazel told the kids that they had heard a rumor that there were polar bear sightings in Kirkstall and asked them to look outside their home. The kids were shocked to see large inflatable polar bears outside their home. The 'polar bears' could be seen bouncing about. It took a while to figure out what was happening. “The younger boy was a bit overawed by these massive polar bears, but when he realized it was us it was so lovely. So many cuddles. It was amazing. Everyone was so happy in those six minutes. And we laughed and cried. I loved it,” said Barbara.


Their youngest grandkid Quinn couldn't believe what he was seeing. He was so shocked to see his nana and grandpa walk up to their home that he sprinted back into the house and out again “to make sure it was real.” The kids' father, Neil, said it was the best hug the boys had received and said it was a memory they'd never forget. “They are the best grandparents in Leeds. They’re simply fantastic,” Neil added.

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