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'Good night, Mr Bond'. The life of Paddington Bear's creator celebrated at St Paul's

The life and work of Michael Bond, creator of Paddington Bear, has been celebrated at a memorial service in St Paul's.

Family and friends of the much-loved author, who died earlier in 2017 aged 91, gathered at the Cathedral on Tuesday 14 November , alongside hundreds of other people from the literary world, school children and many fans of his work.

Opening the service, the Reverend Canon Mark Oakley, said: "As we remember with fondness the characters that sprang from Michael's imagination and recall their capacity for doing good, so let us give thanks for a bear called Paddington who fitted our world perfectly because he was different."

Tributes in the service were given by Michael's daughter, Karen Jankel, who spoke of his love for people and their love in return for him, and by his publisher Ann-Janine Murtagh. 

His grandchildren, India, Harry and Robyn, read extracts from his books, including A Bear Called Paddington, The Tales of Olga da Polga, and It Wasn't Me.

Giving his sermon, the Reverend Canon Michael Hampel, said: "Paddington would preach this sermon better than me because he would tell you his story, and his story is a kind of parable in its own way."

"What happens in Paddington is that the wisdom of the world is turned on its head and a refugee bear who is accident-prone and clearly very different from everyone else around him comes to exemplify a very different kind of wisdom.

"It's one that says that being different is OK; that being cast adrift in the world requires the human response of rescue; and that accidents happen – because we’re all human."

"Michael Bond knew that people needed looking after and he reached out to millions of children (including those of the adult variety) through the art of story-telling – not least through stories about a bear called Paddington who was different."

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At the end of the service, some of the tributes which poured in after Michael's death were read to the congregation by Hugh Bonneville, Samuel Joslin and Madeleine Harris, three members of the Brown family in the recent Paddington movies.

One read: "I can’t help but think that A A Milne and Michael Bond can now compare notes about bears!"

Another saying: "Thank you for showing us proper values through a bear called Paddington".

The tributes ended: "Good night Michael Bond. Thank you for writing the books that taught me to read, and to want to read more."

DOWNLOAD THE FULL ORDER OF SERVICE