WINCHESTER Cathedral has seen much in its 900 years of history, but never anything quite like this.

These were the moments brave teddy bears took the plunge from its walls to raise money for a children's charity.

More than 65 bears were signed up for the Action For Children parachute jump from the south nave roof of Winchester Cathedral.

There were squeals of delight as each bear, attached to a brightly coloured parachute, was announced on the megaphone and thrown from the medieval church before cruising (sometimes smashing) to the ground.

Hampshire Chronicle:

Organisers had a mini stretcher on-hand to make sure bears were safe and well before being returned to their owners to receive a medal and certificate.

The event has so far raised £961.78 – well over the £500 target.

Tallulah, the naked one-armed doll, hurtled to the ground before owner Jake, two, scooped her up. His mother, Laura Nation said: "It's brilliant and lovely because Jake was christened here so it is nice for him to do something supporting children at an event the children enjoy."

Six-year-old Natalia Vinnell watched as her bear, Orange, successfully completed the challenge. She said: "It was ok and lots of fun."

There was a guest appearance from book star Binky Bear, and Alresford authors Liz Nankivell and Moira Blackwell were cheering the parachutists on.

The charity has 47 children's centres across Hampshire. In Winchester it has Sparklers in Winnall Community Centre, The Carroll Children's Centre in Stanmore and Reign and Shine at Kings Worthy Primary School.

Fundraiser for Hampshire and Berkshire and one of the parachute jump organisers, Kim Appleby, said: "It's really nice to be able to do something in Winchester where we have a presence with our children's centres."

Simon Barwood, spokesman for the cathedral, said it is the first event of its kind there.

"It's a wonderful thing to be able to help people who support people in the community," he said.