This website was originally created in 2005 the hope of finding out more about the bear and his history. Since then, enough information has been found enabling the story to be completed. Completed literally I'm afraid because the ravages of time finally killed him.
Fittleworth is a small village in West Sussex, England. Fittleworth Common is a wooded area to the East of the village centre and is most easily accessed from the hill just below the Post Office and just to the North of the Swan Inn. Please don't confuse Fittleworth Common with the much larger Hesworth Common which is to the West of the village centre.
He is carved of wood (with a chainsaw we think) cunningly stained, and looks as though he is running through the woods. We say he, but there are no clues as to gender.
We think he first appeared by the side of the main footpath through Fittleworth Common during 2003 but it could have been earlier. Who placed him there and why? It turns out that he was a wedding present to a local couple. They thought that their garden was a cruelly restrictive home for such a handsome creature and released him into the wild. His real name is Mowgi or Rory's Bear.
He's a much loved character and walkers bring him seasonal gifts which they place in his begging bowl. A pine cone, a piece of interesting bark, a strawberry, a toffee. He has quite a varied diet. In winter, he sometimes wears a nice warm scarf and he's often decorated during festive seasons.
The poor old devil went through the wars this Summer. A bungled kidnap attempt was mounted during which the gruesome amputation of both ears and nose occurred. A heroic local lady bravely saved him, and nearly apprehended the villains. He underwent surgery and was returned to his usual home in September. New oak ears had been grafted on and he also sported a brand new nose made of hazel. The latter is unstained though. We thought it looked better in the original black.
Whatever, he's back and not too the worse for his adventures.
In mid April, we visited him only to find him lying on the ground. Vandalised? Drunk? Dead? Well he has been suffering from the dreaded rot in recent years.
At the beginnning of May, we found him leaning nonchalently against his branch again.
This July, a visiting Aussie friend donated this lovingly hand knitted beanie hat.
At Christmas 2009, the bear received his first fan mail from an admirer complete with a photo of him and Polly the dog, and a poem.
We love you bear with the golden hair
(now the bear with the antlers there).
We photograph you all the time
and we bring you offerings of all things fine.
Badly weathered beyond repair, and barely recognisable as his former self, the original owners felt that the kindest thing they could do was to place him back where he started, in the soil, where he could nourish new life. They placed a plaque nearby.
Within days, some other fan had left flowers and a card that said "Alas poor bear, we shall miss you here". The writing style looks familiar!