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Windmill teddy bear event cancelled over fire risk

PUBLISHED: 14:42 14 August 2019 | UPDATED: 14:42 14 August 2019

The Teddy Parachute Drop at Billingford Mill includes prizes for the teddy that travels the furthest and raises funds for charity. Picture: Angela Sharpe

The Teddy Parachute Drop at Billingford Mill includes prizes for the teddy that travels the furthest and raises funds for charity. Picture: Angela Sharpe

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A popular annual event that sees families drop teddy bears by parachute from the top of a Norfolk windmill has been cancelled over fears of a fire risk.

Billingford Mill custodians Julie and Herbert Websdell. Picture: Simon ParkinBillingford Mill custodians Julie and Herbert Websdell. Picture: Simon Parkin

The Teddy Parachute Drop at Billingford Mill, near Diss, had been due to take place on Sunday, August 18 but mill custodians Julie and Herbert Websdell decided that it could not go ahead because grass on the surrounding common land posed a risk of fire.

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Mr Websdell said: "People park on the common but to put cars on there was a fire risk. The safety of volunteers and the public is important. We have since been told the owner does plan to cut the grass but it is too late because we have already had to cancel the event."

The event has taken place for several years with prizes for the teddy that travels the furthest and has raised funds for charities including Oxfam.

Constructed in 1862 Billingford was the last commercial mill to operate by wind in Norfolk when it ceased work in 1956. It is currently undergoing major restoration with its restored cap having been replaced earlier this summer and new sails under construction.

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