The crew of Wightlink’s flagship Victoria of Wight have welcomed an unusual guest onboard – a giant cuddly teddy bear who’s touring the country to increase awareness and help raise money for Royal Mail’s in-house charity the Rowland Hill Fund.

Royal Mail lorry driver Kevin Faithfull took the teddy on his regular route delivering parcels to Sandown sorting office. Returning with Wightlink from Fishbourne to Portsmouth, they were invited up to the Bridge by Captain Matt Baxter.

Hillda – named after postal service reformer Sir Rowland Hill – made herself at home in the helmsman’s seat and even got some advice on how to steer the ship from Second Mate Paul Cooke.

“Hillda and her brother Rowlan have covered the length and breadth of the country over the last four weeks,” explains Fundraising Manager Mary Jeffery. “They’re helping us spread the word about what we do to aid those in need. The Rowland Hill Fund was established in 1882 and provides financial help to Royal Mail staff, pensioners and their dependents.”

Every morning, four Royal Mail lorries board Wightlink ferries to take parcels from Southampton sorting office to depots at Ryde, Newport, Sandown and Shanklin.

“Lots of little teddies are brought on board Wightlink ships by their humans, but we reckon Hillda is probably the largest bear who has travelled with us so far,” says Marketing and Innovations Director Stuart James. “We are pleased to support The Rowland Hill Fund in its worthwhile work.”

Picture caption: Hillda in the hot seat on the Bridge of Victoria of Wight with Captain Matt Baxter and Second Mate Paul Cooke.


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