A GIANT children’s TV character scarecrow which was put up for auction to raise money for an animal shelter has found its forever home.

A 1.7m tall Bagpuss, as made by Paul and Emma Simmons for the Owslebury Scarecrow Trail, has been delivered to Osborne School, a special education school in Winchester.

Mr and Mrs Simmons invited people to bid on their striped straw creation on Facebook, with the money being donated to St Francis Animal Welfare.

The winning bid of £200 was submitted by a fellow Owslebury resident, Emily Loretto, who donated the scarecrow to her son’s school.

READ MORE: Giant Bagpuss from Owslebury Scarecrow Trail goes up for auction

Hampshire Chronicle: Winning bidder Emily Loretto's son with Bagpuss at Osborne School

Emily said: “Osborne is very close to my heart, my home and my work team. Many young people are able to access education through customised learning at their own pace to align to their abilities in a very warm environment surrounded by exceptionally skilled teachers and staff. The school impacts many lives and has been a shining light for my own son. Bagpuss couldn’t have a better home, he will be well loved.”

The recreation of the 1970’s stop-motion animation cat now sits in the school’s forest classroom after being delivered on Tuesday, June 6. A spokesperson for Osbourne School said: “Everyone has been really buzzing about Bagpuss arriving.”

The team at St Francis Animal Welfare, in Eastleigh, said: “From all of us at St Francis, we are so grateful to Paul and Emma for their incredible work and for supporting our charity. We are blown away by their unique creative sculpture of Bagpuss and really applaud their efforts.

“We are currently celebrating our 70th year of rescuing, caring for and rehoming animals, but it’s not been easy. The rising costs of living and demand for services has meant our finances are being stretched to their limits. Fundraisers and donations like these go such a long way in helping us to keep the shelter running.”

Hampshire Chronicle: Paul and Emma Simmons with their Bagpuss scarecrow. Image: Jason Brown photography

Image by Jason Brown Photography.

SEE ALSO: Owslebury Scarecrow Trail depicts favourite children’s TV programmes

The Owslebury Scarecrow Trail, on show by St Andrew’s Church throughout May half-term, raised a further £1,800 for the village church and £461 for Hampshire and Isle of Wight Air Ambulance who attended a medical emergency in the village on the bank holiday Monday.

Bagpuss beat 38 other children’s TV character scarecrows to be announced the winner of the fourth annual competition.

Trail organiser Tracy Archibald said: “We started our Scarecrow Trail during lockdown as a way of bringing our community together and raising a little money for the village when there was little else available to us. It continues now to provide fun for families from all over Hampshire during half-term and fundraising for good causes along the way.

“We were so very happy to hear that the winning creation, Bagpuss, voted for by hundreds across the week has now found a new home, where hopefully he will continue to charm the children with his stories and songs.”

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Bagpuss even attracted the attention of his onscreen owner Emily Firmin who starred in the show as a girl.

Emily’s late father Peter Firmin created the series with Oliver Postgate as well as other British classics such as the Clangers and The Basil Brush Show.

Ms Firmin, 48, said: “How lovely that Bagpuss won the scarecrow competition, although, to be honest, nowadays he is usually a bit sleepy and preoccupied to worry about crows. He deserved it too as he is a wonderful rendition and the straw suits him. Well done all involved in raising the money for the charities. My Dad and Oliver would very much have approved.”

Co-creator of the winning scarecrow and animal behaviourist, Emma Simmons, said: "We are over the moon that Bagpuss raised £200 for St. Francis Animal Welfare and now has a wonderful forever home himself in the forest classroom at  Osborne School.

"It's lovely to know he and his two mouse friends will be loved and enjoyed by so many children. Also, with the cost of living crisis, animal welfare charities are under greater strain than ever. Creativity is a powerful force and its potential as a resource for raising funds for charities is huge. Let's create a kinder world."

Osborne School is developing its forest school. Any companies or individuals who are interested in volunteering or helping are encouraged to get in contact at 01962 854537.