Paddington Bear animator holds family workshop in South Shields

Nadine Dhifi with her plasticine creation
Nadine Dhifi with her plasticine creation

An award-winning film animator has shared her creative skills to help a group of bereaved youngsters in South Tyneside.

Sheila Graber - best known for her work on the Paddington Bear films - and her business partner Jen Miller visited the Cruse Crew to hold an animation workshop for families.

Families get to grips with creating their animations

Families get to grips with creating their animations

The group, run by volunteers, provides a support network for bereaved families and their children through activities and drop-in sessions.

During the course of the session, youngsters aged from four to 14 worked with adults to create short animation clips using plasticine.

These are now in the process of being put together to create a short film which will be showcased at a later date.

Former teacher Sheila said: “I loved the way the older children helped the little ones and vice versa and how the families all worked together. The creativity from them all really flowed.

The creativity from them all really flowed - even from the grown ups aswell!

Sheila Graber

“The idea of working with a family group was fantastic and this is something they can continue to do at home.

“It was lovely working with all the families and I look forward to working with them all again in the future.”

Throughout the session, the youngsters made animation figures, including using the Cruse Crew logo to create a short animation clip.

Mum, Laura Nisbet said: “Everyone really enjoyed the session, it was something different and you could tell they got a lot of enjoyment from it which was lovely to see.

“It was really good and I know they have asked if they Sheila will come back again to do more work with us in the future.”

Sheila, who was a teacher at King George Comprehensive School when her talent was spotted, has created a number of animations including characters Mr and Mrs Brown from the Paddington Bear children’s TV series.

Her accolades include an Honorary Fellowship from the University of Sunderland for Outstanding services to Education and Art; Best Digital Image Designer Category” at the North East and Border regional ceremony of the Royal Television Society and a Lifetime Achievement Award for her work.

The Cruse Crew is based at Harton Miners Welfare and holds drop-in sessions on Tuesdays for families.

Sheila Graber

Sheila Graber

A coffee morning for adults, where they can talk to one another is held on Mondays at the Armstrong Hall from 10am until 11am.

For details call 456 6166 or email