Padding­ton Bear creator Michael Bond dies aged 91

Marlborough Express - - WORLD -

BRI­TAIN: Michael Bond, the Bri­tish creator of Padding­ton Bear, a mar­malade sand­wichlov­ing refugee from Peru who en­ter­tained gen­er­a­tions of chil­dren with his ex­ploits in Lon­don, died yes­ter­day, aged 91, af­ter a short ill­ness.

Wear­ing a tag round his neck that read ‘‘Please look af­ter this bear’’, Padding­ton was named af­ter the Lon­don rail­way sta­tion of the same name where he was found af­ter a boat jour­ney from ‘‘dark­est Peru’’, ac­cord­ing to Bond’s 1958 story A Bear Called Padding­ton.

Bond said the in­spi­ra­tion for the char­ac­ter came when he spot­ted a teddy bear in his flat, and won­dered what would hap­pen if a real bear ar­rived at Padding­ton Sta­tion like a World War II refugee with a la­bel around his neck.

‘‘Glanc­ing round in search of in­spi­ra­tion my gaze came to rest on Padding­ton, who gave me a hard stare from the man­tel­piece, and the muse struck,’’ Bond wrote in the Ra­dio Times mag­a­zine in 2014.

‘‘I knew ex­actly how my own par­ents would re­act if they saw it, par­tic­u­larly if it had a la­bel round its neck, like a refugee in the last war. There are few things sad­der in life than a refugee,’’ Bond said.

Padding­ton was taken in by the Brown fam­ily and his ad­ven­tures and mishaps were de­tailed in more than 20 books, the last of which, Padding­ton’s Finest Hour, was pub­lished in April.

The sto­ries in­vari­ably saw Padding­ton, fu­elled by mar­malade sand­wiches, caught up in ac­ci­den­tal but well-in­ten­tioned scrapes, while ex­am­ples of rude­ness were met with one of his ‘‘hard stares’’.

Ann-Ja­nine Murtagh, ex­ec­u­tive pub­lisher of chil­dren’s books at HarperCollins, which sold more than 35 mil­lion Padding­ton books, said Bond was a true gentle­man and the most en­chant­ing of writers. - Reuters

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