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Easton: Toppling teddies freed from tree trouble

10:20 07 August 2014

Tree surgeon Dave Evans helped rescue teddy bears from the tree next to All Saints Church, Easton. Pictured with Esmé Lee-Foster and Charlotte McEwen

Tree surgeon Dave Evans helped rescue teddy bears from the tree next to All Saints Church, Easton. Pictured with Esmé Lee-Foster and Charlotte McEwen

A Suffolk tree surgeon performed a unusual rescue operation after strong winds took hold of a beloved bunch of parachuting teddy bears.

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For six years, Easton pre-school has held an annual celebration barbecue to say goodbye to the children leaving to start primary school, featuring a teddy bear drop from the village’s church tower.

Prizes are awarded for the best decorated parachute, best flyer, the teddy or parachute nearest the target, and the best adult engineered parachute.

But events took a turn for the worse this time, when gusts blew the bears straight into tall lime trees in a neighbouring garden, while the turbulent weather of the following weekend only served to further entwine the tangled teddies.

Some of the bears were retrieved using a 20-foot pole and a ladder, but little owners and their parents started to lose hope of some ever being recovered.

Dave Evans, known as Woodsman Dave, gallantly stepped in, donning climbing gear and winching himself high into the two trees to extricate the bedraggled bears on one of the hottest days of the year. He said: “I was able to get about three down with poles but the rest I had to get in the tree for.

“It’s a bit different. You occasionally hear of tree surgeons going after kites or kittens, but not teddy bears.”

One rescue was watched anxiously by a little girl, who was soon overjoyed to have her ‘Zeddy’ Zebra returned. Other cuddly creatures have been reunited through Facebook, but some of them have yet to be returned.

“We have advertised it all on Facebook, but some people may be on holiday,” said Kirsty Logan, whose seven-year-old daughter, Charlotte McEwen, returned to her old pre-school for the event. “I still have some of the bears as we won’t know who they all belong to until term starts again!”

Three-and-a-half-year-old Esmé, daughter of pre-school committee chairman Angie Lee-Foster, was among the children whose bears were lucky enough to make the descent unscathed.

The pre-school celebrates its 40th anniversary this year. A number of local parents currently enrolling their children also attended at one time.

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