A NEW estate agents officially opened in Winchester last week with the help of a very special guest.

Alresford's own Binky the Bear did the honours at Dybles Estate Agents' launch party in Southgate Street.

Owner Michael Dyble, 28, who grew up in Winchester, said he was keen to set up his own business in his hometown.

He said: “I believe by being local and independent we can really do things properly. It's easy to get caught up in the numbers game but for us its about offering personal service and winning recommendations.”

Dybles opened last month and Mr Dyble, who put £25,000 into the business, said it had got off to a good start.

He said: “We have had some great feedback and have done a lot of lettings deals in our first month. I'm extremely confident we can make a success of the business.”

Moira Blackwell and Liz Nankivell, who have so far written two books about Binky and are working on a third, said they were pleased to be invited along to the launch.

Liz said: “We are delighted to be here and it's very nice to be here to support a new business.”

Dybles sold Binky merchandise throughout the day to raise funds for Oliver's Battery Preschool, along with a charity raffle.

Kate Fletcher, chairman of the preschool committee, said: “Dybles have been really supportive of us, whether it's an individual event or by printing out our programmes for our nativity play. We are very grateful to them.”

Mr Dyble, of Park Avenue, went to St Bede and The Westgate schools and Peter Symonds College. He also used to manage the Winchester branch of Complete Estate Agents while his parents run La Place bistro in Great Minster Street.