Zip-wiring teddy bears drew huge crowds in the churchyard of St Margaret’s, Whaddon this August.
The creative church Mission Group came up with the idea of installing a zip-wire line from the top of St Margaret’s Tower, with a basket to winch the intrepid teddies up to their dizzying starting point.
The Revd Rachel Beck said, “The aim of the event was to build community and relationship and to have some fun together, especially after the last couple of years.
“The two churches have held teddy bears picnics before, but this year we wanted to do something a little different, and people absolutely loved it.
“A previous churchwarden said that he couldn’t think of a time when there had been so many people gathered in St Margaret’s churchyard.
“The advertised start for the event was 12 noon and families were so keen that they started streaming in ten minutes before the start. The families just kept coming, which was such an encouraging response, especially for those who put a lot of time and effort into organising the event.
“A local ice-cream van owner got in touch on social media and brought her van along, which was very much appreciated on a warm summer day. We were really blessed with the weather.”
A lot of work was put into advertising the event locally, with a poster designed by a young adult in the community shared in school newsletters, on social media and displayed outside the churches and local businesses, as well as being given out as a flier. Rachel said that the response after the event on social media was overwhelmingly positive.
“Many people couldn’t believe it was free and said they really appreciated that. Lots of people shared messages of thanks on our social media after the event.”
At St George’s Church, they have been running drop-in sessions called Fun and Free Tuesdays, every Tuesday in August from 12 noon to 3 pm. People can come along for outdoor games and free ice lollies, with free drinks and snacks through the afternoon, art and craft activities and indoor games. Working with Gloucestershire Bundles, they have been able to offer school uniforms and a selection of coats for free/donation to the charity.
Rachel said, “Again, we have been very surprised with the response to this event – people have said it’s so good to have a place to come and be together.”