AN ITCHY-pawed teddy bear has been clocking up the air miles in an effort to broaden his cultural horizons.

Spencer the bear has already visited India and Spain and now has Japan and Sri Lanka on his schedule.

When he is back home, the 30cm high cuddly toy enjoys his rest and recuperation in the company of staff and pupils at Brynteg County Primary School.

The ‘travelling bear’ project was the idea of the school’s foundation phase leader Michelle Firth.

After plucking Spencer from the shelves of Marks and Spencer, Mrs Firth packed his bags and sent him half-way around the world in an attempt to improve her pupils’ knowledge of different cultures.

She said: “It sounds bizarre when you say it, but we have got photos of Spencer taking part in a procession at a religious festival in Spain, playing badminton in New Delhi and playing the guitar.”

After making contact with schools abroad, Mrs Firth arranged for Spencer to visit them.

Pupils in the overseas countries are requested to fill in Spencer’s travel diary and send pictures of him taking part in cultural events.

The initiative is part of the school’s ‘Around the World’ project and has enabled the pupils to learn about cultures and customs overseas.

Mrs Firth said: “The children love it and because he is often away, they all want to take him home with them when he is back at the school.

“It’s a real treat for them to take him home at the weekend and they get excited about writing about and taking photos of what he has done.”

After returning from the Spanish city of Zaragoza at Christmas, Spencer has been joined by Carmelo the Spanish bear, who is visiting from a school in Spain.

And the children at Brynteg Primary have been making sure Carmelo learns about their traditions – taking him to Blackpool, playing with him in the snow and
dressing him in a Wales rugby shirt.

Mrs Firth added: “We have got a whole time line of Spencer’s travels and this project has really enabled us to improve our global links.”