AN eight-year old boy from Menston has encouraged his classmates to give away unwanted teddies to children fleeing Ukraine.

Jake Swann was moved to take action after watching the events of the war unfold on Newsround at his school - Menston Primary School - and seeing that children in Ukraine are having to leave their homes with nothing.

When his mum Jo Swann told him there was a way he could help by collecting teddy bears to donate to Ukrainian children, Jake asked if he could get his classmates involved.

A huge box of toys is now ready to be sent to the military in Ukraine. The bears will be driven over to them from the UK, then packed into the rucksacks of soldiers, who then hand the teddies out to children they come across at the borders, to show kindness and a message of hope.

The teddies are to be sent with a poem, ‘War Teddies’, translated into Ukrainian - which is a message of hope to children from UK author and publisher, Abigail Horne, of Authors & Co, a friend of Jake’s mum.

Jake said: “I found it really sad watching the children from the Ukraine on the news and asked mum if we could send them money. When she told me about the teddies I loved the idea and decided to do that instead.”

Jake’s Menston Primary School teacher, Mrs Riley said: "This was such a lovely idea brought to us by Jake and we were delighted by how many of the children got involved. We talk to the children about what’s happening in the world all the time, and to see Jake take action when he could to help is really heart-warming.”

Abigail said: "Every time I was watching the news and seeing a child in Ukraine holding a bear or soft toy, my heart ached knowing which bears my own children would choose, should we ever have to flee our homes. Every little person crossing a border, sleeping in an underground shelter or trying to survive this war, is holding and hugging their special teddies… so, I wrote a poem for them, in the words of their bears."

War Teddies by Abigail Horne

We’re going on an adventure today,

So wrap up warm; let’s not delay.

I’ve heard it may be cold outside,

But it won’t be long ‘til we’re back inside.

We’re going on an adventure today,

So let’s pretend it’s a holiday.

Sleeping on your blow-up bed,

I’ll be with you, your best friend, Ted.

We’re going on an adventure today,

I promise we’ll get a chance to play.

Other children will be there too,

They have their bears, and I have you.

We’re going on an adventure today,

But for how long, no one can say.

If you hear loud voices or a bang,

Just remember, I’ve got your hand.

We’re going on an adventure today,

We may be travelling far away.

I promise I’ll keep you safe and snug,

Just squeeze me tight if you need a hug.

We’re going on an adventure today,

Let’s not spilt up along the way.

Thankfully we can stay with mum,

And soon enough, dadda will come.

We’re going on an adventure today,

And everything’s going to be ok.

From the day you ripped away my tag,

I became your friend, through good and bad.

We’re going on an adventure today,

It’s time to go now; we cannot stay.

And one day you’ll say that you were there,

In the heart of Ukraine, with me, your teddy bear.