Paddington is unlikely son of Yorkshire

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EVER SINCE he arrived on the platform from deepest, darkest Peru, little Paddington has had a long association with the central London train station and which would go on to inspire his name.

But as Britain’s favourite bear makes his big screen debut, one town is reminding the region that the renowned lover of marmalade sandwiches has a spiritual home here in Yorkshire.

Doncaster Museum's Nicola Fox with an original Gabrielle Designs Paddington Bear. Picture: Scott Merrylees

Doncaster Museum's Nicola Fox with an original Gabrielle Designs Paddington Bear. Picture: Scott Merrylees

It was Doncaster where Paddington was first brought to life from the pages of children’s books in the form of a cuddly version of the character.

The woman holding the needle and thread was none other than Shirley Clarkson - the late mother of BBC’s Top Gear presenter Jeremy Clarkson - and the man himself is the first person to have owned the stuffed toy version

After striking an agreement with creator Michael Bond, his parents’ firm Gabrielle Designs went on to make thousands of the hand-made Paddingtons at a factory in Adwick which later became known as Bear Garden.

To ensure the local link is not forgotten as the film is released today, Doncaster Museum is encouraging families to visit one of the original bear - now a collector’s item - which it has on display.

“There might be lots of adults pulling out their own Paddington toys to show their children once the film is out, so we want to remind people of our claim to the cuddly bear,” added Coun Johnson.

While efforts have been made to ensure the CGI version of Paddington maintains familiar traits, cinema-goers may notice one glaring difference between the two - if they paws for thought.

Big-screen Paddington, voiced by actor Ben Wilshaw, wanders the streets of the capital barefoot, unlike the cuddly bear clad in wellington boots. They were amentioned in the books in 1964, but added to his staple uniform by Mrs Clarkson when her prototype bear kept falling over.