Great Ellingham ready for teddy bear festival

A small Norfolk village will welcome about 100 new residents of cuddly variety this weekend as Great Ellingham hosts its annual teddy bear festival.

Creative villagers have come out in force again this year to produce dozens of large bears which will go on display along the roadsides to make up a colourful trail.

The festival, now in its eighth year, has so far raised about �28,000 for charities with causes benefiting this year including East Anglia's Children's Hospices (EACH) and village organisations such as St James Church, Brownies and Scout groups.

Pete Clayton, chairman of the Teddy Team, said: 'Raising money is a great thing for the charities but our main objective is the community spirit we work with and build on. The sound of children's laughter on the streets is lovely.'

The trail will officially open on Saturday kicking-off a fortnight of teddy themed events. Trail maps will cost �1 from the Post Office. Visitors on Saturday will also be able to browse about 50 garage sales dotted along the route from 9am.

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The festival will continue on Sunday with an open gardens event, from midday to 4.30pm. Tickets costing �3 can be bought by calling 01953 457808.

St James Church will host an art exhibition preview evening with cheese and wine on July 7 from 7pm, with tickets costing �7. The art exhibition, which will boast up to 150 artworks from local artists, will the continue from July 8 to July 10.

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The festival's focus - the Teddy Bear Fun Day and Craft Fair - will take place at the church on July 9 from 10am to 4pm, with activities such as a bear hunt and teddy bears being zip-wired down to the ground from the top of the church tower.

The church will also host a cafe morning on July 10 from 10am, and a pamper evening will take place at the recreation centre on July 12 from 7pm to 10pm, with tickets costing �7.

Events will conclude on July 16 with a coffee morning and raffle draw at the recreation centre from 10am to midday.

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