Sooty went to Buckingham Palace but for once he took a back seat. For the day belonged to Harry Corbett, from Guiseley. He was there to receive “the insignia of the OBE”.
Apparently, it was his first public appearance since suffering a heart attack on Christmas Day. The magican and puppeteer died in 1989 aged 71. He invented Sooty in 1947 as a means of entertaining his children while on holiday,
Harry bought the very first Sooty on Blackpool Pier for just seven shillings and six pence (37.5p) in 1948.
The bright yellow bear with black ears and nose went on to dominate children’s TV in the 1950s and 1960s, despite never uttering a word and remains one of the longest running children’s TV shows of all time.
In 2008, a Sooty puppet given by Harry Corbett to Violet Marley, a senior BBC receptionist, in 1962, came on to the market with a guide price of £200 to £300 in the auction on October 29.
Sooty will turn 70 next year. Harry’s mother’s brother was Harry Ramdsen, owner of the famous fish n’ chip shop, where Harry sometimes played the piano. He was deaf in one ear, which prevented him pursuing a musical career.
His younger son Peter (stage name Matthew) eventually took over from him in 1976 and he retired in 1998.