As the country gradually starts to re-open, there is light at the end of the tunnel though we continue to live in challenging times. Here, Claire Monahan shares a selection of stories from around the world that are sure to raise a smile this week.

Zoo Antics Laid Bear
A bear in Oregon Zoo has been keeping his spirits up during lockdown by enjoying a bath in the bear enclosure. The video of Takoda, whose name means ‘friend to all’ has got a huge reaction since it was recently posted on Instagram. The ten-year-old bear has been living at the zoo since he was orphaned and rescued in 2010. Credit: Oregonzoo on Instagram.

Raising dough for those in need
A UK chef who was forced to close his pop-up restaurant has been using surplus supplies to raise money for charity. Tom Mathews and his partner Sian have been baking from home and safely delivering treats to locals in return for donations. The pair have been flooded with orders and many worthy charities have been supported as a result of the initiative. Credit: chatsworthbakehouse on Instagram.

Skateboarder makes history during lockdown in Brazil
An 11-year-old skateboarder has become the first person in history to complete three 360 degree spins on a vertical ramp. Skateboarder Gui Khury used his time away from school during lockdown to focus on training at a local facility, which remained open. He’d been working on the so-called 1080 move for over a year and was delighted to share his achievement with the world on social media. Credit: gui_khury on Instagram.

Ministry of Silly Walks in Michigan
A family in the US state of Michigan has brought humour to their quarantined neighbourhood by setting up a Ministry of Silly Walks outside their home. Inspired by the Monty Python sketch, passers-by are encouraged to get creative with their walking styles, with the silliest being posted to social media. The idea even caught the attention of Monty Python legend John Cleese, who tweeted his delight at the initiative. Link to video on Instagram:  Credit: Yorkshire.silly.walks on Instagram

Ferret runs marathon to support literacy
A pet ferret has run a marathon to raise funds for a children’s book charity in the UK. The eight-month-old pet named Bandit reached the marathon mark by running three miles a day with his owners in Oxfordshire. The money raised will be used to buy thousands of books for disadvantaged children in the local area and aid their learning during lockdown. Credit: @OxMailTimHughes.

Pizza party for communion classes in Cork
Communion classes all over the country have been dealing with the disappointment of missing out on their special day during the coronavirus crisis. But classes from Cork’s Sunday’s Well National Schools got a special surprise when a Pizza Party Pack was delivered to each child’s home. It was all thanks to the local Credit Union and Apache Pizza, who made sure that the second class students’ big day didn’t go unmarked. Credit: Sunday’s Well BNS on Facebook.