Darlington will be being invaded by 17 colourful bears to celebrate Mental Health Awareness Week.

All of the bears have been designed by local artists to reflect different positive emotions and traits.

Those include hope, strength, peace and curiosity.

They will appear in shop windows between Monday 13 May and Sunday 26 May and visitors to the town centre are invited to spot them all!

The Northern Echo: Darlington bear trail

Two giant bears will be in the Dolphin Centre and Binns.

Alex Nicholson, town centre manager, said: "We invited local artists to design a bear to reflect a positive emotion. The finished bears are real works of art and we can’t wait for people to find them around the town centre as they take part in the bear trail."

The Northern Echo: Darlington bear trail

One artist, Merlyn Griffiths, invited the 13th Darlington Scout Group to come up with a design and thanks to the work of ten year old Zain Mansy, the determined bear was born. Zain suffered a chronic brain bleed in 2021 after a scooter accident and his artwork reflects his positive attitude and outlook on life.

Two more bears have been designed by service users at Darlington Mind’s art group and Peaceful Bear has been created by Art of Survival, a local art group set up to support the health and wellbeing of its members.

Once the trail is over it is hoped the bears will be auctioned off to raise money for Darlington Mind.

The Northern Echo: Darlington bear trail

The trial is being supported by Little Rach, artist and tattooist at Luck & Love on Clarks Yard who has a designed a bear pin badge which will be available for a small donation at venues along the trail.

Matt Roche, cabinet member for health and housing, said: "This is a brilliant way for to mark Mental Health Awareness Week and for us all to think how we, and those we love, are bearing up. The artists have created some amazing designs and I urge everyone to keep an eye out for the bears around the town centre.

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"I hope they will be a talking point for people to open up about how they are feeling. Every year one in four of us will experience mental health problems and organisations and initiatives, like Darlington Mind, Talking Changes and Darlington Connect, are there to help, I would urge anyone who needs it to seek support."

You can pick up a trail map from the Dolphin Centre and at venues across the town centre from Monday 13 May.

Once you have spotted all the bears return your trail to the golden box at the Dolphin Centre to be entered into a prize draw.