Festing Road Residents Honour Mr. Benn

Festive Road was home to children's TV character

Mr Benn enters the Fancy Dress Shop
copyright David McKee

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On Saturday 28th November residents of Festing Road will unveil their tribute paving stone to ex-resident David McKee who created the classic Mr. Benn children's stories Mr Benn. Local people clubbed together to fund the gestures.

Illustrator David McKee lived there in the late 1960s. When he devised the Mr. Benn character he changed the address slightly to Festive Road.

For those who are too young to remember Mr Benn had grand adventures when he passed through a magic portal - each adventure began when he visited a magical fancy dress shop. The changing room in the shop the access to the portal through which Mr Benn traveled in the 13 episodes that were shown on BBC during the 1970's.

The idea for the paving stone came to Festing Rd resident and regular contributor to the PutneySW15.com forum Hugh Thompson during a visit to Australia last year, when he noticed a Sydney suburb had the street names on the pavements. On his return to SW15 Hugh suggested it to the residents of Festing Road and they raised £500 to pay for the slab to be engraved.

Hugh said, " To others it may be a very ordinary street, but we have raised money to plant our own trees when the Council wouldn't, now we have done this. If ordinary is being decent and friendly then we are very ordinary. What MR Benn shows is that extraordinary things can happen in ordinary streets."

David McKee now lives in France but has been invited and it is believed that he will be attending the Festing Road party on Saturday where many residents will be in fancy dress reflecting the adventures of Mr Benn.

November 27, 2009