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Bagpuss creator awarded Freedom of City


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Museum of Canterbury, Bagpuss co- creator Peter Firmin and his daughter Charlotte reading stories to kids
Museum of Canterbury, Bagpuss co- creator Peter Firmin and his daughter Charlotte reading stories to kids

Bagpuss co-creator Peter Firmin reading stories to children

An iconic children’s animator and an inspirational businessman have been awarded the Freedom of the City of Canterbury.

Peter Firmin, co-creator of legendary children’s TV shows including The Clangers, Bagpuss, Noggin TheNog and Ivor The Engine joined community stalwart and managing director of Herne Bay-based Crown Products, Michael Head in receiving the honour at the city’s Guildhall on Wednesday evening.

Peter, 83, and his wife moved to Blean from London with their young family in 1959.

Bagpuss
Bagpuss

In a disused cow shed at the bottom of his farm, Peter and Small Films co-creator Oliver Postgate, who died aged 83 in 2010, began bringing the stories and illustrations to life.

His six daughters were all educated at the village primary school and then city secondary schools.

Reacting to the honour, the former Blean parish councillor admitted he was humbled by the occasion.

He said: “I’m very surprised, it’s a very unexpected thing when you spend most of your life making children’s programmes to be made a freeman of the city.

“It’s a great honour and I understand I join the ranks of many great predecessors.

"It’s always great when you realise that people appreciate what Oliver and I did.

"We were so busy creating new ideas at the time just to keep going that we probably didn’t realise the impact we were having."

Michael Head, from Petham, has grown furniture manufacturers Crown Products from a workforce of 12 to 120 since it began in 1959.

Today, it is one of the UK’s leading kitchen material suppliers and also exports a significant quantity of its business to Norway.

It continues to play a key role in employing a skilled workforce in the Herne Bay community.

As well as looking after Crown Products, he also helped establish Canterbury4Business (C4B) and became its first chairman in 2003.

He played a vital role in fundraising for a redeveloped village hall in Petham, invigorated the Marlowe Theatre fundraising campaign and also kick-started the rejuvenation of Hersden secondary school Spires Academy.

He said: “Even though I’ve known I’d be honoured tonight for some time, it still comes as a great surprise.

“It’s not something that I’ve ever thought about and to receive it from the community of Canterbury is absolutely wonderful.

“I will remember this evening for the rest of my life”

See next week's Gazette for full report and pictures.

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