Horsham Museum celebrates the arrival of Paddington Bear

Start preparing the marmalade sandwiches as a very special member of the Brown family is heading to Horsham this autumn.

Paddington Bear will be packing his suitcase, putting on his little blue duffel coat and slipping into his wellies as he prepares to travel down to Horsham Museum for his very own exhibition in the town.

JPCT 071014 S14420361x Horsham Museum: meet Michael Bond's daughter, Karen Jankel -photo by Steve Cobb SUS-140710-122405001

JPCT 071014 S14420361x Horsham Museum: meet Michael Bond's daughter, Karen Jankel -photo by Steve Cobb SUS-140710-122405001

It has been set up to celebrate the release of the bear’s first big screen appearance on November 28 but the new film is not the sole reason behind the little brown bear coming to the museum later this month.

Paddington’s creator, Michael Bond, has always had close links to the town through the support he has given Horsham-based children’s charity Action Medical Research.

The charity provides funding for research to help sick children and babies in the UK and it is this connection that has bought the bear from ‘Darkest Peru’ to the district.

Mr Bond’s daughter, Karen Jankel, was at the museum this week to help set up the new exhibition.

She said: “It is very, very exciting. Some of the items date back to when Paddington first got involved with the charity.

“I don’t think he (Mr Bond) realised when he first wrote the book it would become such a worldwide success. I think he would be delighted with it.”

Mrs Jankel explained why her father had chosen to support the charity back in 1976.

“My father received all sorts of offers from different charities but he only wanted to support one.

“In 1976 my father had a chance meeting with Duncan Guthrie who was the founder of the charity. He was so impressed that they did not just provide research for one charity, he chose Action as the one to support.

“Paddington has always had an eye for a bargain so the fact it was a medical charity that provides support for more than one cause made it a good charity for him to support too.

“We will definitely continue to support the charity like we have been.”

The exhibition will open at the museum on October 16 and will host memorabilia and artwork contributed by the Bond family as well as showcasing old letters between Mr Bond and his publishers and a few stuffed toys.

There will also be a quiz for children to take part in to win copies of Paddington books signed by Mr Bond himself.

Jeremy Knight, heritage officer and curator at the Horsham District Council museum in the Causeway, said: “Some people will say that it is not for a museum to show stuffed toys, but some of these will be the toys of the past and part of people’s childhood so they are in a way part of history.

“They also will trigger childhood memories for people who come and see it.

“Action is a charity that is really part of Horsham’s history and it is nice to do something to support the charity as well.”

Toni Bliss, communications manager at Action Medical Research, said: “We are very grateful for the support that Karen and her family have given us and we are grateful for the support the museum and the local council have given us also.

“Obviously this is just the beginning and the set up and I am very excited about the opening day.”

The exhibition will run until December 31 before Paddington has to return to 32 Windsor Gardens to spend the new year with the Brown family.