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Ant and Dec's Saturday Night Takeaway

Despite only appearing together in one platinum jubilee sketch, mourners have left Paddington Bears as tributes to the late Queen – perhaps without knowing that the very first teddy bear of the loveable children’s character was down to Jeremy Clarkson.

No, we’re not joking.

While the actual bear came from the mind of author Michael Bond, it was Shirley Clarkson of Gabrielle Designs - the mother of the former Top Gear presenter – who put together the first soft toy of Paddington for him and daughter Joanna as a Christmas present.

A page on the official Paddington website reads: “So many people admired Shirley’s Paddington that she started to make some more until her company, Gabrielle Designs and was granted an official licence to sell them in the UK in 1972.”

In 2008 Ms Clarkson, who passed away six years later, published a book sharing the remarkable anecdote, titled Bearly Believable: My Part in the Paddington Bear Story.

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Mr Clarkson has even talked about the piece of trivia himself, confirming in 2017 that he still owns the very first Paddington designed by his late mother.

The bear has now received a surge in interest following the passing of Her Majesty The Queen, to the extent that the Royal Parks had to issue a plea to visitors not to bring teddies to the park to place in the floral tributes.

“We would prefer visitors not to bring non-floral objects/artefacts such as teddy bears or balloons.

“Cards and labels will, however, be accepted and will be periodically removed by The Royal Parks’ staff and contractors for storage offsite,” an FAQ page on their website reads.

In a tweet earlier this week, writer and historian Hannah Rose Woods shared the interesting fact surrounding Clarkson with her followers, and people can’t quite believe it:

Oh, and someone else offered another mind-blowing fact in response:

It’s okay, we don’t know how to process all of this new information either.

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