Author honoured as famous book turns 60
Great Western Railway (GWR) has named one of the first of its new Intercity Express Trains after Paddington Bear author Michael Bond.
The train, 800010, was unveiled by his daughter Karen Jankel at a special event on Platform 1, London Paddington, near to where her father’s creation first arrived in London.
Michael’s wife, Sue Bond, was also in attendance at the ceremony held on Wednesday 10 January, three days before what would have been Michael’s 92nd birthday.
The author, who died on 27 June last year at the age of 91, created the character Paddington based on a small bear he saw sitting all alone on a shelf in a London department store near Paddington Station on Christmas Eve 1956.
The first book was released on 13 October 1958 and since then more than 35 million Paddington books have been sold around the world. The characters have also been featured on television and in two feature films, produced and distributed by STUDIOCANAL in 2014 and 2017.
Karen Jankel, Michael’s daughter said:
“Even before my father found the bear that inspired him to write his first book, he had decided that Paddington would make a good name for a character. He saw it every time he arrived at Paddington Station from his home town of Reading, so it is hard to imagine anything more appropriate than naming a train after him.
“Sadly, my father is no longer with us but his family are all delighted that both he and Paddington have been honoured in this way.”
The train bears Michael Bond’s name on one end, and Paddington’s name on the other. Each name is accompanied by an illustration by Peggy Fortnum, who drew the first ever Paddington images – making the train personal to Michael as an inspiration to many, and making the train individual from the rest of the fleet.
Michael strongly featured in GWR’s 100 Great Westerners campaign to name its new fleet after prominent Great Westerners, and was nominated by the public. The full list is available here.
A set of independently designed coins that also depict Peggy’s visuals are positioned above the names.
Mark Hopwood, GWR Managing Director, said:
“Naming one of our new Intercity Express Trains after Michael Bond is our way of paying tribute and saying thank you to someone that has inspired countless generations of children worldwide.
“Rightly so Michael features on our 100 Great Westerners list, having given us all such joy with such an iconic and loveable character that is popular even to this day.
“Paddington Station over the years has been a must-see destination to all Paddington fans, and by naming a train after him we are delighted to play our part in supporting Michael’s legacy.”
GWR’s Intercity Express Trains entered service on 16 October 2017 and are being named after individuals and organisations that have inspired the regions that they serve – 50 of which will be taken from the 100 Great Westerners list.
Notes to editors
About Great Western Railway
Great Western Railway (GWR) provides high speed, commuter, regional and branch line train services. We help over 100 million passengers reach their destinations every year - across South Wales, the West Country, the Cotswolds, and large parts of Southern England.
We’re currently seeing the biggest investment in the network since Brunel so we can offer more trains, more seats, and shorter, more frequent journeys and continue the network’s heritage of helping connect more businesses to new and prosperous markets. Through a series of initiatives we aim to be a good neighbour to the communities we serve and are committed to making a positive social impact in those regions. Learn how we're Building a Greater West at GWR.com. GWR is a FirstGroup company.
About Paddington Bear:
For almost 60 years, British-born writer Michael Bond has been delighting children and families all over the world with his stories about Paddington, the bear from Darkest Peru famous for his love of marmalade. Paddington is popular with both children and adults who feel affectionate and warm towards him and the charm and humour of the Paddington stories is the key to their enduring popularity.
Paddington’s adventures have been adapted several times for television and at the end of 2014 Paddington made his debut onto the big screen. The movie, produced by Studiocanal, part of the international content and media group Vivendi, is the best-selling non-Hollywood family movie ever released. A second Paddington movie, Paddington 2, launched globally at the end of 2017.
In 2016, Vivendi took full ownership of the Paddington brand worldwide, with the exception of the classic publishing rights.
In recognition of Paddington’s extraordinary popularity and success, Michael Bond was awarded an OBE (Order of the British Empire) from the Queen for services to children’s literature in 1997 and a CBE (Commander of the British Empire) in 2015. In June of 2017, Michael Bond passed away leaving a legacy of one of the best loved children’s characters in the world, 15 Paddington Bear novels, countless other formats, and a world-wide merchandising programme. 2018 marks the 60th Anniversary of the first book, A Bear Called Paddington, published by HarperCollins in 1958.
Follow Paddington on Twitter at @paddingtonbear
Like Paddington’s Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/PaddingtonBear/
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