A woman from Portland has been taking her daily walk dressed as a giant bear to bring some laughter and joy to people in her community.

Isabel Sommers, 50, began wearing a life-size teddy bear as a costume on April 1, which she initially bought to play a prank on her son for his birthday.

However, once she discovered that she could fit inside, she decided to take her daily walk dressed as a bear as a way of cheering up children in neighbouring streets who are stuck inside during the lockdown period.

Ms Sommers said: "It was an impulsive idea. I had been in isolation for 16 days as I had symptoms for COVID-19 so once I had finished isolating I stopped in at Home Bargains and saw the teddy bear. I couldn't resist getting him so I could try to climb inside and scare my son.

"When I realised I could fit, after taking out some stuffing and unpicking some stitches, I thought I would take my daily walk dressed as him and it's really blown up."

People in Ms Sommers' neighbourhood have become fans of the bear, named Theodore, or Teddy for short, and have asked for him to stand outside their homes and dance for their children.

Ms Sommers, who works in Blandford as a marketing and communications manager, has set up a Facebook page for Theodore under the name 'Theodore, the bear in isolation'.

The page is full of pictures of Theodore as well as comments by parents praising Ms Sommers for her effort in cheering their children up.

Theodore has also begun hosting live dance parties, which Ms Sommers hopes will be used by children as part of their daily exercise, and does shout-outs for those people who live far away.

Ms Sommers said: "As long as I've got the time I'm more than happy to Skype or message people.

"I definitely want to keep this up for as long as we are in isolation and if the daily walk gets stopped by the Government, then there will be more live appearances by Theodore online and I will start doing video calls for children who can't go out to see him."

Ms Sommers has had some negative feedback after some other people joined in dressing up to entertain kids but were not sticking to the social distancing rules.

Ms Sommers said: "Theodore does stick to all of the rules of social distancing so he only walks around his neighbourhood and doesn't drive to see people further away."

She added: "People come out and wave and clap and smile when they see me. I've been quite overwhelmed with the reaction I've received and I'm committed to doing it until we are out of lockdown. "