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An 8 year old is doing a charity skydive from three miles up in order to raise money for Paignton Zoo.

His name is Cecil and he is just 12 inches tall.

Cecil is a teddy bear. He belongs to Ben Folland, who is 8 and lives in Silverton, near Exeter. Ben, who attends Silverton Primary School, has visited Paignton Zoo approximately 10 times in his life. His favourite animals live in the reptile house. He is hoping to raise more than £50 for the charity.

Ben said: "I've had my teddy since the day I was born so Cecil is the same age as me! I wanted to raise money for Paignton Zoo because I love visiting all the animals and seeing them happy."

Cecil, who weighs around 16 ounces or under half a kilo, doesn't usually wear an outfit of any sort – source close to the bear say "He likes to feel his knees in the breeze!" - but for the jump he will wear a skydive frap-hat and some jump goggles.

Cecil has made no comment about the skydive, but Ben spoke for him: "I think Cecil is a bit nervous but he can do it because he's brave like me! I will be there on the day to cheer him on and give him cuddles when he's landed."

The Paignton Zoo skydive takes place on Saturday 21st July at Dunkeswell airfield, near Honiton. It is the only centre in the country that runs a skydive teddy programme.

Cecil will meet his instructor and receive his safety briefing before climbing on board the aircraft. At 15,000ft the door will open and Cecil and his instructor will jump out of the 'plane, experiencing speeds of an adrenaline-pumping 120mph while freefalling up to two miles. He will receive his own certificate to celebrate his achievement.

Kathy O'Neill, Paignton Zoo's Individual Giving Officer, said: "We are delighted that Ben and Cecil are raising money for Paignton Zoo. Cecil must be the bravest bear in Britain!"

If people wish to sponsor Cecil they can send donations direct to Paignton Zoo.

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