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Cameraman turned Paddington Bear creator

Press Association logoPress Association 28/06/2017 Laura Harding

As the author of the Paddington Bear books, Michael Bond created a character beloved by different generations all around the world.

He first came up with the idea for the small bear from Peru in 1956 while working as a television cameraman for the BBC, and his books proved so popular they have been on shelves ever since they were first published in 1958.

Over his lifetime, Bond penned 150 books, including his first title A Bear Called Paddington, and 25 others about the marmalade-loving bear in a duffle coat, hat and wellingtons.

He was inspired to create the character after he bought a small toy bear on Christmas Eve in 1956 when he saw it left on a shelf in London department store Selfridges and felt sorry for it.

Bond took it home as a present for his wife and named it Paddington because they were living near the railway station of the same name at the time.

He started writing stories about the bear for fun, but after 10 days realised he had a book on his hands and sent it to his agent.

Publishers did not immediately see its potential, but it was eventually accepted and the book was published in October 1958.

By 1965, the books were so successful he was able to give up his job at the BBC. They have now sold more than 35 million copies worldwide and have been translated into more than 40 different languages.

Born on January 13 1926, Bond was educated in Reading.

During the Second World War, he served in both the Royal Air Force and the British Army and began writing in 1945 while stationed with the Army in Cairo, selling his first short story to a magazine called London Opinion.

"When I was small I never went to bed without a story," he once said.

"But I doubt my mother ever pictured me writing for a living. In fact, when I eventually gave up working for the BBC in order to write full time, I think both my parents were worried that I had given up a nice, safe job for what sounded to them like a very precarious existence."

He continued to write throughout his life, living not far from the station that gave the bear his name, and his most recent Paddington title, Love From Paddington, was published in 2014.

It was the first Paddington novel to be written in the bear's own voice, in a series of letters written to his Aunt Lucy in darkest Peru, detailing his adventures in London.

A big screen film about the bear's first meeting with the Brown family was released in the same year, with a sequel currently in production.

Bond died at his home after a short illness aged 91 on June 27.

He is survived by his wife and two adult children.

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