A Southwater woman has shared her memories of growing up with Paddington Bear, after Horsham-based children’s charity Action Medical Research issued a call for past members of its mascot’s club to come forward.
Action Medical Research launched a search for members of Paddington’s Make it Grow Club, which later became the Paddington Action Club, and staff were delighted to hear from Angela Smallwood as they celebrated 40 years with their official mascot.
“I used to belong to The Make It Grow Club back in 1976 and belonged for many years,” recalls Mrs Smallwood. “I went to the special birthday party at Paddington Station on 6 November 1977. I got the autographs of a lot of famous people: Michael Bond, Bonnie Langford, The Goodies, Ed Stewart, Frank Muir, Henry Cooper and Bernard Cribbins. I remember there was a big birthday cake, I guess it was for the club’s birthday; I also remember seeing an exhibition of the history of the club.
“I also went on Radio Brighton with another girl and was interviewed about how I joined the Make It Grow Club, what the club was all about and the motif. This was a flower with a petal that had fallen off, and this fallen petal represented a child that was poorly and needed help through Action Research for the Crippled Child, as the charity was called then.
“I enjoyed getting the newsletters and reading them, I wish I had kept all the old newsletters but must have got rid of them when I left home 26 years ago.
“I am still a great Paddington Bear fan and I think that at the age of nine that was the main reason why I became a member! I still have my old Paddington in my bedroom that I got when I was eight years old and I am now 49!”
Mrs W A Taylor, of Beech Road, Horsham, also contacted Action Medical Research to share her family links with the charity and Paddington.
“My children were members in the 1980s which was helped run by my mother, Joyce Moore, who worked for the charity for many years,” wrote Mrs Taylor. “Nicola Taylor and Martin Taylor were involved a lot with the club; my daughter won a competition one time and went to London to a Paddington Bear party where Michael Bond attended. He autographed a birthday book for her which we still have.
“Everything in their bedrooms was to do with Paddington Bear and the newsletters were very exciting for them to read.
“My mother has sadly passed away now but she loved doing all the mailshots and work for you so it brought back many memories after seeing the picture in the local paper!”
Paddington became the charity’s mascot after his creator Michael Bond met Action’s founder Duncan Guthrie back in 1976, and his friendly face has helped to attract thousands of new supporters who together have raised millions of pounds to help babies and children.
Former club members are invited to email Paddington@action.org.uk with your memories of growing up with Paddington, or call 01403 327480.
Shortly after becoming Action Medical Research’s official mascot, Paddington became the figurehead of Paddington’s Make it Grow Club.
For more than 60 years Action Medical Research has helped pioneer treatments and ways to prevent disease that have benefited millions of people in the UK and across the world. Research they’ve funded has helped to beat polio in the UK, develop ultrasound in pregnancy, fight meningitis and prevent stillbirths.
Action Medical Research is currently funding research into meningitis, Down syndrome, epilepsy and premature birth, as well as some rare and distressing conditions that severely affect children.
“We were so happy to hear these memories as we’re incredibly proud to have been Paddington’s favourite UK charity for four decades now,” says Sarah Moss, Director of Communications at Action Medical Research.
“We’d still love to hear from other supporters who were part of Paddington’s Make It Grow Club back in the 1970s and 1980s, or those who were involved with the Paddington Action Club later on.”
If you were a member of the Make It Grow Club, or the Paddington Action Club, please email Paddington@action.org.uk with your memories of growing up with Paddington or call 01403 327480.
For more information about Paddington and Action, please visit action.org.uk/about-us/celebrity-support/paddington-beartm