Jane Garner from PR agency Kilogrammedia looks back on working with the creator of Paddington.
In 2008, we had the good fortune to be dealing with consumer media around Paddington’s 50th birthday.
This meant that we got to meet and work with Michael Bond and a kinder more helpful person you could not hope to meet. A true gentleman in every way, despite being in his 80s at that point he did everything he could to help with the great many interview requests we put to him.
A couple of things really stand out though.
We organised a competition with the Daily Telegraph – the prize being a bronze replica of the statue in Paddington Station and even better, a family lunch with Michael at the Wolsey. The winner was duly chosen but as the date for lunch approached Michael called me to say that he was rather under the weather. I told him not to worry and that I would postpone things but he wouldn’t hear of it, and instead he insisted that the winning family came to his home for tea.
He and his wife laid on a fabulous selection of cakes and sandwiches while endless questions were answered and tales were told. It was a truly memorably afternoon, made even more so by the spectacle of guinea pig Olga da Polga (number eight I think) enthusiastically bouncing up and down the stairs.
As the campaign came to an end, Michael once again demonstrated his kindness in asking that we take Paddington on a tour of London, not with a view to generating press coverage, but for no other reason than giving his fans a chance to meet their favourite bear and wish him happy birthday in person.
With the help of Rainbow Productions and an obliging cab driver the day tour took place and the reception wherever we went was extraordinary.
A truly lovely man, Michael Bond will be missed by fans and friends the world over.