Tributes to ‘Sooty’s creator’ Bill Lamb

Bill Lamb with Sooty's current owner Richard Cadell
Bill Lamb with Sooty's current owner Richard Cadell
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Tributes have been paid to Bill Lamb, the original owner of Sooty and  former organiser for the Blackpool Magic Convention.

Mr Lamb, who lived on London Road in the resort for most of his life, died after a short illness aged 87.

His daughter Sue paid tribute saying he was great family man and very organised but could be stubbon when he wanted to be.

She added: “He was famous for Sooty but his lifelong passion was always magic and he travelled the world going to conventions. It was his hobby and life ”

In 1948, when he was 16 years old, Mr Lamb sold the yellow bear glove puppet for seven shillings and sixpence on Blackpool’s North Pier.

Six years later he was stunned when he saw the bear had suddenly become a big hit on TV - as Sooty.

The buyer was Harry Corbett, who watched Mr Lamb doing an impromptu act with Sooty. He bought it for his son but later decided to use it in a children’s TV series.

Mr Lamb was a trained electrical engineer who for many years co-ran the annual Blackpool Magicians’ Convention, retiring in 1994.

Peter Sedgwick, who owns Blackpool’s three piers, said it was the end of an era.

He said: “It was fantastic that he thought of Sooty originally.

“So many generations have grown up with Sooty over the years and to think it all started on one of Blackpool’s piers.”

The International Brotherhood of Magicians British Ring, of which Bill was a member, said: “ Sad news about Bill Lamb. Our thoughts are with his family.