BAGPUSS, the saggy old cloth cat loved by millions of people, will celebrate his 39th birthday in February with a special party at Canterbury Heritage Museum.
The star of the animated series, once voted Britain's best-loved children's programme, will be joined in the celebrations by his co-creator Peter Firmin at the event at the museum in Stour Street on Saturday, February 9, between 10am and 4pm.
Peter's daughter Charlotte, who illustrated Bagpuss for comics, will be running a children's workshop creating Bagpuss-inspired characters from modelling clay.
Other activities include the opportunity to make a Bagpuss mouse finger-puppet, enjoy a Bagpuss storytime, take part in a treasure hunt and win a small prize, and discover some little-known Bagpuss secrets. Favourite Bagpuss episodes will also be shown.
Entry to the event is included in the standard museum entry price, with a special rate for holders of a Canterbury Residents' Card of £3 for adults and £2 for discounts. Children go free.
It launches a new room dedicated to Bagpuss with a recreation of the famous shopfront that featured in the animated series.
Mr Firmin described the enduring appeal of the show: "Bagpuss and Emily's shop is and has always been a safe and comfortable place to be. The music invites the viewer into the opening pictures of an old- fashioned real village.
"Those viewers, now in their thirties and forties, remember that warm feeling and want to pass it on to their children and grandchildren.
"The merchandising and books, as well as the DVDs have helped to keep it all alive and Olive Postgate and I (and now his son Daniel) have always kept a close eye on what is made, to try to retain the nonaggressive and creative character of the series (which only had 13 episodes)."
As well as Bagpuss, the museum is also home to displays on other Peter Firmin/Oliver Postgate creations, including the Clangers, Ivor the Engine and Noggin the Nog.
Mr Firmin said he was relieved the original Bagpuss sets and puppets would be on display.
"For 30 years I had looked after them and brought them out when fans asked to see them," he said. "Now everyone can see them in a good setting in Canterbury. Everyone is happy."