The death of Paddington Bear creator Michael Bond has prompted people to fondly remember his creation as a symbol of refuge and compassion, as the country argues over how to deal with refugees.
The image of the bear who comes to London after an earthquake forces him to leave his native Peru was adopted by many of those advocating Britain do more to welcome the influx of refugees trying to get in more generously.
Bond’s death at 91 was announced on Wednesday, the same day Lord Dubs urged the Government not to scrap a pledge to take in thousands of children refugees stranded in camps across Europe.
A wave of people mourned Bond and celebrated his creation, with one person saying Paddington Bear reminded him of a “more welcoming Britain”.
Oxford immigration academics called Paddington “Britain’s most famous fictional migrant”.
Immigration lawyer Colin Yeo called Paddington “quintessentially English and yet also a refugee”.
While others called him “the immigrant everyone loved”.
Bond, who created the character in 1958, said Paddington’s arrival at the London station was inspired by his memories of children arriving at Reading Station having been evacuated from London during the Second World War.
“They all had a label round their neck with their name and address on and a little case or package containing all their treasured possessions,” he told The Guardian in a 2014 interview.
“So Paddington, in a sense, was a refugee, and I do think that there’s no sadder sight than refugees.”