Meet the man who's a straw bear
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Whittlesea Straw Bear Festival: Meet the man behind the bear costume

A man has spoken of his love for dressing as a straw bear for more than 25 years at one of England's "quirkiest" festivals.

The Straw Bear Festival in Whittlesey, Cambridgeshire, has completed its 41st outing since the event's revival in 1980, but it dates back 100 years.

Tom Sennett began his role at the rural festival in 1994 aged 10 wearing a smaller version of the costume, following in the paws of his grandfather who was also a straw bear.

Since then, he has become one of a small group of people who don handmade suits every year to entertain the thousands of people who attend.

"When you get inside that costume and that head comes down, your whole persona changes, your whole being changes into something completely different," said Mr Sennett.

The festival, which harks back to days when plough boys dressed in straw to entertain the locals, culminates with the burning of the costumes on the final day.

  • 20 Jan 2020
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