TEDDY bears and their owners swapped the woods for Longhope Church to have a picnic and try their paws at abseiling.

The occasion was a celebration of the completion of work to restore the tower at All Saints Church.

The Friends of Longhope Church and the Parochial Church Council drafted in bearonautical experts Tom and Wendy Holland to guide the toys through the zip wire challenge.

The bears were placed in a picnic basket and hauled 30 metres to the top of the tower where Tom and co-pilot Peter Lewis attached them to the wire for the return journey.”

Chair of the Friends of Longhope Church Tina Coull said: “Bears of all ages and hues and many of their furry friends came with their humans to try their paws at the especially erected zip wire from the top of Longhope’s newly restored tower.

All animals wishing to ascend the tower and the zipwire back to earth had to undergo a rigorous health check at the registration tent before being directed to Wendy for a safety briefing. Once that was complete, the bears donned a special harness and were escorted to the departure lounge at the base of the tower. The whooping and cheering could be heard all over the church yard as bear after bear made their successful descents. All bears completed their missions and several were brave enough to do it again and again and again…

“Each zip wire champion was rewarded with a certificate and balloon and then directed into the church for refreshments.

It must be said that several baskets of refreshments were also seen making their way up the tower and that Tim and Peter seemed to be having almost as good a time as the bears

For bears who wanted to keep their fur unruffled there was a sumptuous picnic inside the church along with quizzes and games to keep them and their companions entertained.”

Earlier this month the bells at the church rang for the first time in five years following the community campaign to raise nearly £200,000 to strengthen the tower.

Dan Morgan with his daughters.
Dan Morgan with his daughters. (© Tina Coull)
Longhope Parochial Church Council secretary Nick Richardson.
Longhope Parochial Church Council secretary Nick Richardson. (© Tina Coull)
Elsie-Mai Morris and Wendy Holland.
Elsie-Mai Morris and Wendy Holland. (© Tina Coull)
Phillipa Ingram with Teddy
Phillipa Ingram with Teddy (© Tina Coull)