“Bear-illiant” Paddington™ collection revealed at Antiques Roadshow | Action Medical Research

“Bear-illiant” Paddington™ collection revealed at Antiques Roadshow

6 August 2014

More than forty years in the making, a massive and rare collection of Paddington Bears and memorabilia was revealed at the Antiques Roadshow filming at Belton House last Thursday.

The collection was amassed by the late Norwich resident Betty Margaret Francis with the help of her three daughters: Barbara Hayward (now living in Peterborough), Frances Francis (Cromer) and Paula Osborne (Norwich). It has since been donated to children’s charity Action Medical Research to help raise funds.

Betty, who had contracted polio as a child, died in 2011 at the age of 82. She was given her first Paddington by daughter Barbara back in 1970. The collection was very much part of the family and enjoyed by the daughters and grandchildren.

The sisters decided to donate the collection to charity and Action Medical Research was chosen as the beneficiary because of its links with polio research and, coincidentally, because its mascot is Paddington Bear. The charity’s early funding helped support polio research across the UK, from monitoring, diagnosing and preventing infection to improving survivors’ lives. Action has also been the favourite UK charity of Paddington since 1976.

The sisters; Barbara, Frances and Paula, met with Fiona Bruce and Antiques Roadshow valuer Bunny Campione at Belton. Bunny, formerly of Sotheby’s and Christie’s, took a keen interest and advised the sisters and charity volunteers from its Peterborough committee (Angela Hyde, Margaret Clark, Vernoica Palmer), who will be organising the sale of the items, of the best ways to raise maximum funds for the charity. Sadly the collection was not filmed.

Michael Bond’s daughter, Karen Jankel, also accompanied the sisters to Belton for the show filming. A long-standing supporter of the charity for which Paddington is mascot, Karen said:

“With his movie debut taking place at the end of this year, interest in Paddington memorabilia has never been greater.  The older bears are of particular interest to fans and so I hope this lovely collection will raise plenty of funds for Paddington’s favourite UK charity.”

Action Medical Research is currently funding research into many conditions, including preventing early labour and developing treatments for babies affected by premature birth, helping children with disabilities and tackling rare diseases for which there are currently no cures. 

Paddington Bear is this year fronting the charity’s Bear Miles for Breakthroughs appeal, as part of which he will journey around the UK, visiting sick children in four hospitals across the country (Brighton, Oxford, Newcastle-Upon-Tyne and Cambridge). More at www.action.org.uk/bearmiles

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Use the links below to download images to use with the story (please credit ©2014 Terry-Harris.com):

From left to right: Paula Osbourne, Barbara Hayward, Frances Francis

From top row, left to right: Angela Hyde (Chairperson for Peterborough Committee of Action Medical Research), Veronica Palmer (Peterborough Committee), Margaret Clarke (Peterborough Committee); bottom row: Paula Osborne, Frances Francis, Fiona Bruce, Karen Jankel, Barbara Hayward (seated):

Other images are available on request.

For further press information on Action Medical Research please contact:

Toni Slater, Communications Manager

T          01403 327478
E          tslater@action.org.uk
W        action.org.uk

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Action Medical Research is a UK-wide charity saving and changing children’s lives through medical research.

We want to make a difference in:

  • tackling premature birth and treating sick and vulnerable babies
  • helping children affected by disability, disabling conditions and infections
  • targeting rare diseases that together severely affect many forgotten children.

Just one breakthrough, however small, can mean the world.

Charity reg.nos 208701 and SC039284.

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