Manchester

Cosgrove Hall's Wind in the Willows puppets return to Manchester

The Wind in the Willows figures Image copyright Waterside
Image caption Figures including Ratty, Mole and Toad have been donated to the Waterside Arts Centre

Puppets from an animated version of The Wind in the Willows have returned home 30 years after they were feared lost.

Twenty-five figures - including Ratty, Mole and Toad - have been donated to the Waterside Arts Centre in Sale.

The figures were created in the 1980s by Manchester-based animation studio Cosgrove Hall, which also made Danger Mouse and Chorlton and the Wheelies.

They had been kept in storage for 26 years and were discovered when they were put up for auction.

The figures belonged to Andrew Dunning, an animatronics and set designer who acquired them following the production of The Wind in the Willows film in 1983.

A spokesman for the Waterside said it was "beyond thrilled" to get them back thanks to Mr Dunning's "generosity and kindness".

The handmade puppets range in height from five inches to the tallest, Badger, who is 14 inches.

Peter Saunders, who was head of the team that made them, said it was an "amazing turn of events".

"The puppets disappeared after they were displayed in an exhibition many years ago and everyone thought they were gone for good," he said.

"It's great that they've turned up and have been donated to the Cosgrove Hall archive."

Cosgrove Hall also created Count Duckula, Terry Pratchett's Truckers and Noddy's Toyland Adventures, but its characters were put into storage when the studio shut in 2009.

The puppets will go on display later this year.

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