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Remembering Maralyn Redfern

The Light Fund’s Trevor Jones leads the tributes to Blueprint’s co-founder.

Back in the 1980’s when the Spring Fair trade show was busy every day, I was staying at the Metropole Hotel (the only one on-site at the time). Arriving back late one evening I was struck by how busy and noisy the hotel bar was. I quickly realised that a large group of trade buyers were all laughing loudly due to one reason. Mike and Maralyn Redfern were ‘holding court’ with their unique, hilarious banter that went back and forth between them. This was the first time I met Maralyn and it was a double act that I was fortunate to experience hundreds of times thereafter.

Diminutive in stature, Maralyn was a strong character with a big heart and a no-nonsense straightforward approach to life. Together, Mike and Maralyn raised four children (Julia, Lisa, Pippa and James) who all work in the business.

When Maralyn wed Mike little did she know that together they’d be the owners of the world’s leading designers and manufacturers of licensed stationery. Having spent years establishing the licensed stationery category at retail, it was in the late 1990’s that Mike and Maralyn felt the time was right to set up a new business. They funded the company partly by selling their home, making a complete commitment to making it a success.

Blueprint Collections started in 1999 with Maralyn very much involved with all aspects of the business.

The formidable team of Mike and Maralyn proved unbeatable. The company soon went from strength to strength winning awards, gaining widespread distribution and opening offices in the UK and Hong Kong.

Maralyn was a fervent supporter of the licensing industry being involved with the original licensee group – GOAL – which became the Character Exchange and is still the most active group in the UK.

Since the announcement of Maralyn’s death, Mike and the family have been overwhelmed by the response. Many people have been lucky enough to have met Maralyn over the years. She had hundreds of friends across the toy, stationery, publishing and licensing industries around the world who will all hold dear memories of happy times spent in her company.

The cremation and a simple service to celebrate Maralyn’s life will be held at 11.30am on May 16 at Parndon Wood Crematorium, Harlow, CM19 4SF and will be followed by a reception at Manor of Groves Hotel, High Wych, Sawbridgeworth CM21 0JU where refreshments will be provided.

Mike says that all are welcome to join the family in a celebration of the life of a wonderful wife, mother, grandma and friend as well as to mourn her sudden passing, so please come with that in mind.

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