Paddington star Hugh honours bear’s creator
HUGH Bonneville yesterday led tributes to Michael Bond, creator of Paddington Bear, at a special memorial service.
Downton Abbey star Hugh, who appears in both the hit films about the children’s story character, read messages about the writer, who died in June aged 91, sent from around the world.
One said: “The gift of Paddington and all the other wonderful characters he created will leave a legacy of stories that will inspire, charm and teach children about good manners for decades to come.”
Another said: “I doubt I’d ever have become a teacher if it hadn’t been for Paddington Bear. His tips on hard stares particularly well.”
Paddington, the marmaladeloving bear, first appeared in a story in 1958.
Bond went on to write more than 200 books about the mischievous stowaway from Darkest Peru, who is taken in by the Brown family in London. They sold 35 million copies.
Bonneville, who again stars as Mr Brown in the new movie Paddington 2, was joined by Madeleine Harris and Samuel Joslin, who play his children in the film.
Bond’s family and friends were served me joined at the ceremony at St Paul’s Cathedral by the actor Stephen Fry, writer and broadcaster Gyles Brandreth as well as fellow authors, book illustrators, teachers, and schoolchildren.
Also attending was sculptor Marcus Cornish, whose Paddington statue stands in the station that inspired the bear’s name.
Bond’s daughter Karen Jankel told the congregation that Paddington was “so real” that it was regarded as a member of their family.
Bond’s final book, to be published next year, is set in St Paul’s, inspired by a visit he made to the cathedral last year to mark The Queen’s 90th birthday.
Michael Bond with Paddington and right, Hugh Bonneville yesterday with Madeleine Harris and Samuel Joslin