THE wonderful tales of Winnie the Pooh and Friends have enthralled generations of children and adults all over the world.

But how many of the millions who have read these stories know what really inspired the writer AA Milne?

An event at the cathedral will bring those stories back to life, with a special guest – Lindsay Mattick, great granddaughter of Lt Harry Colebourn, a courageous First World War soldier who is now regarded as the man who inspired Milne.

Colebourn, an English-born Canadian emigrant who joined the Canadian army, bought to England an orphaned bear cub he bought from a hunter.

The two were inseparable and so popular that the bear became the mascot for the Second Canadian Infantry Brigade.

As the war progressed, the two were forced apart; Colebourn went up the line and the much-loved bear, named after the Canadian city of Winnipeg but shortened to "Winnie" was donated to the London Zoo.

It was at the zoo, so the story goes, that AA Milne and his son Christopher Robin Milne encountered the bear. Christopher went home and named his own bear Winnie and the rest is literary history.

Next Wednesday Canada’s Nation Arts Centre Orchestra will perform to commemorate the war’s centenary.

It was here in Salisbury that 30,000 Canadian troops trained before departing to the Western Front, among them Lieutenant Colebourn.

The NAC Orchestra is led by world-renowned violin virtuoso and conductor Pinchas Zukerman.

There will be a second VIP guest in attendance too – an unconditionally-loved, if slightly dog-eared teddy bear, given to Lindsay Mattick by her great-grandfather Harry as a child.

The concert starts at 7.30pm on October 29 Tickets are £15-£40 from 01722 320333 or