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Bill and Bagpuss take to the skies

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By DNG24

A DREAM of many men was fulfilled by a Dumfries man - taking flight in a Spitfire just days after the 70th anniversary of VE Day.

And Bill Beaugié, 71, took a friend along for the ride, in the form of a stuffed version of TV children’s character Bagpuss.

Taking flight as a passenger for half an hour over the south coast of England on Tuesday, Bill said: “I did one roll, but no loop-the-loops – I’m chicken and too old for that. I don’t like losing my lunch.”

Looking back on the long-held ambition, Bill said: “All people of my age would love to have flown in a Spitfire.”

Explaining his colourful companion, in the early 70s Bill, a qualified textile technician, was product development manager of a textile companywhich received a call from Peter Firmin, the originator of TV hits The Clangers and Noggin the Nog.

Mr Firmin was looking to create a new character – a marmalade coloured cat – and was in pursuit of the appropriate fabric.

He sent Bill a painted colour guide of what he had in mind, and Bill had three unsuccessful attempts to replicate what was wanted.

Bill sent the three lengths to Peter and heard nothing for a year, before receiving announcement of birth card showing one of his attempts.

As Peter said at the time and reiterated in 2014 when he was awarded a special children’s Bafta: “I looked at it and thought brilliant it was the most exciting thing.

“I would never dreamed of daring to make a pink striped cat and it works.

“He is the most memorable cat because of his colour and pink and cream strips have become very fashionable.”

Bill is carer to his wife, who has had MS for 35 years, and in 1996 he was founder chairman of the PRT Trust for Carers, now D&G Carers Trust. He is a Trustee of CarersUK.

Calling for carers to join, Bill invites them to Google dgalcarers and carersuk for information and free membership of both organisations.


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