Winnie the Pooh holds a special place in the hearts of children everywhere, but Lara’s fascination with the loveable bear has grown to epic proportions since she was introduced to him at the tender age of 3 …
Lara, tell us a little about yourself.
I’m 19 years old. My schooling was at Tacking Point Primary School and Westport High. In Year 11, I left school and studied a Certificate III in Early Childcare at TAFE. I now work at Bangalay Childcare Centre and have just completed my traineeship. I also work weekends at Centre of Gravity, where I have climbed for the past 5 years. My pastimes include rock climbing of course, going to the gym and the beach. I love spending time with my family and friends.
You have an amazing collection of Winnie the Poohs! When and where did it all begin?
It started when my Godparents, Aunty Carol and Uncle Carl, bought me a Winnie the Pooh plush toy for my third birthday. Mum and Dad bought me the video Pooh’s Grand Adventure. There was a poster in the video shop and I wanted it, so Mum asked the lady about it, and she let me have it. It was the first poster on my wall, and my collection started from there.
At what point did you realise it was becoming quite a collection (or obsession)?
After I received my first Pooh Bear, I was so attached to the little yellow bear, it seemed that everyone bought me Pooh things for my birthdays and Christmas. I received colouring books and pencils, clothes and stuffed toys for years. The items continued and still continue to come. I probably realised it was an obsession when Mum hung a net in my room and I filled it with Pooh bears; this was to make some more space in my room and get them off my bed.
My collection continued to grow, and I couldn’t fit in my bed any more; I now have a bunk bed, double on bottom and single on top. A lot of Pooh bears sit on the top bunk and take up the whole bed, but there are also a number of Winnie the Poohs on the bottom bed as well.
Clearly it is a very dear collection to you. Have you finished, or are you still collecting?
I love all my Pooh Bears and no, I haven’t finished collecting. I still buy them on eBay, as I find ones on there that I do not have and that I can’t find in stores. People still continue to get them for me, although they now say they won’t any more, because I have too many and no more room for them (but they still do!) While ever they are out there to buy and I haven’t got it, I will continue to add it to my collection.
Do you know how many actual Winnies you have?
I’m not too sure, but I have about 150+ soft toys, which range from one as big as me to one as small as my finger nail. There are some dressed in all sorts of costumes for all different occasions; for instance, an Easter Bunny, Santa Clause, an elf, a reindeer, and there is even a Pooh Bear in a love heart for Valentine’s Day. There are probably over 1,000 items or even more, as there are too many to count.
These items range from books, magazines, towels, items of clothing, coffee cups, ornaments, movies, slippers, hats, bags, watches, USB sticks, mobile phone cases, lamps and many other items. I even have a book dad was given as a student in 1967. I have a Winnie the Pooh book written in French from New Caledonia, a T-shirt from California and a beach towel from Vanuatu.
My Grandma also brought me a few things from Disneyland, a place I have always wanted to see, along with The 100 Acre Wood. Whenever anyone goes on holidays, they seek them out for me. My Aunty even had an argument with the staff in ‘Toys R Us’, because they had one for a display and she wanted to buy it for me and they wouldn’t sell it to her; so she went to the head office and was allowed to purchase it for me.
Tell us about your favourite piece; we hear it is very unique.
For my 18th birthday, my mum, dad, sister and brother-in-law to be gave me a solid silver Pooh Bear that Mum had made for me by taking a mould from a small plastic Pooh ornament I had. It is very special to me, and I wear it every day.
I also have a Swarovski crystal Winnie the Pooh a special friend gave me, a Swarovski crystal Piglet that my friends gave me for my 18th and a Swarovski crystal Tigger that I bought myself when I finished my traineeship. These are very special as well. But I must say I love each and every one of my Winnie the Poohs.
Is there a piece that you don’t have that you have on your wish list?
There is a Swarovski Crystal Eeyore and Pooh Bear’s ‘Hunny’ Pot that I would like, which would finish the Swarovski crystal collection. Also there are still so many items on the internet and items being produced all the time that I still have to buy.