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The little bear who spreads a lot of joy

by Jade Selby

Paddington Bear, who lives in Sittingbourne Road, Maidstone
Paddington Bear, who lives in Sittingbourne Road, Maidstone

Staring from the window of his home in Maidstone, Paddington Bear brings a smile to the eager faces of passers-by.

The adventurous bear has been in the same window of a home in Sittingbourne Road for decades, often changing his outfit to suit the weather.

Now Tracy Cooper, from Sittingbourne, who first saw Paddington when she was six, has written him a poem.

She wrote:

I can’t help but feel affectionate towards this wee brown bear,

And dread the thought of passing by and finding him not there.

It’s 30 years later, and I am still looking with my son,

Through a steamed-up car window, (I’m a sentimental mum!)

Owners Christopher and Catherine Waite, of Sittingbourne Road, said they were delighted to receive the poem.

Paddington Bear was bought in December 1970, one month after the family of five moved into the house, and has stood dutifully on the window sill ever since.

Mrs Cooper said: “I had to say thanks, I felt they had given a lot to the community because quite a few people had heard of this Paddington. Even as an adult I look for it.”

Christopher and Catherine replied to Mrs Cooper with a poem back from Paddington bear:

I watch for my friends

As I look from this place,

So as you pass by

I’ll know your kind face.

More worn today than he was in his prime, Paddington is now the favourite of the Waite grandchildren.

But Mrs Waite said: “If we should ever leave this house Paddington will have to stay as he is so well known.”

Standing in his Wellies our furry friend is unaware that he’s the most famous bear in town.

Here's Tracy Cooper's poem in full:

Paddington Bear – poem about myself as a child

Bundled into the car again, this girl of six,
Travelling from Lordswood, Chatham (out in the sticks).
Cutting through Boxley and fields stretching wide –
A regular car trip, our “Hospital Ride”.

Turning left at Penenden Heath and heading straight on,
We approach Sittingbourne Road, on the outskirts of Maidstone.
Swinging right at the end, we start to roll down the hill,
Past neat rows of houses with empty window sills.
Then all of a sudden, we look and he’s there-
Standing dutifully in his window, it’s PADDINGTON BEAR!

Dressed in his outfit that is suitable for the day,
Our little furry “weather forecaster” gives up his time to play.
He proudly does his duty with his shoulders pulled back,
Awaiting some eager faces to notice his shorts or plastic Mac.

I can’t help but feel affectionate towards this wee brown bear,
And dread the thought of passing by and finding him not there.
It’s thirty years later, and I am still looking with my Son,
Through a steamed-up car window, (I’m a sentimental mum!)
To find Paddington still standing there, in clothes all shining bright,
Has his jumper now got holes in? Or his Wellington’s feel too tight?
Does he have the same family, with children now all grown?
Is he tied into the deeds so that he will never lose his home?
Has he ever been photographed, his story put to print?
If you find a few minutes would you kindly try to fill me in.

Transferred to Medway Hospital, my trips are more remote,
But I still look out for my old, old friend, with his smile and duffle coat.

Thank you for making our journeys worthwhile.
For giving me and my son a very special story of a wonderful little bear to
Pass on to our friends and family in the generations ahead.

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