Updated: 25/01/2012 14:41 | By pa.press.net

Games teddy bears 'made in England'



Mandeville (© left)

Mandeville (left) and Wenlock

The official range of London 2012 teddy bears are 100% made in England, the makers have pointed out.

Family-owned Merrythought Ltd, Britain's oldest-remaining soft toy manufacturer which is based in Ironbridge, Shropshire, spoke out as an investigation is under way into claims that cuddly toy versions of the Olympic mascots are being made by workers suffering poor conditions in a Chinese factory.

Golden Bear, based in Telford, Shropshire, is making Olympic products based on Wenlock and Mandeville - the official mascots of the Olympics and Paralympics.

But an inquiry has been launched into allegations that workers at the Chinese factory which is making the toys for Golden Bear is breaching workers' rights.

Both the London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games and Paralympic Games (Locog) and Golden Bear are investigating claims that workers are labouring for up to 11.5 hours a day for as little as 26p an hour.

A London 2012 spokesman said it placed a high priority on "environmental, social and ethical issues" when securing goods and services and was taking the allegations "extremely seriously".

He said: "We have asked our independent monitor to carry out a comprehensive investigation and review of these allegations. The outcome of this investigation will be made public as soon as it is concluded.

Merrythought Ltd director Hannah Holmes said: "We are a small family business that is honoured to be a part of the London 2012 licensing programme.

"We have the chance to showcase what Merrythought and similar British manufacturers are capable of producing in terms of quality of design and craftsmanship. As a country we should be promoting and encouraging people to 'Buy British' and not only support our country's manufacturing industry, but help safeguard British jobs."

The limited edition London 2012 teddy bears are on sale for around £80.

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