World Book Day: Willy Wonka and Paddington Bear brought to life in yarn form

World Book Day: Willy Wonka and Paddington Bear brought to life in yarn form
Crocheted Willy Wonka and Paddington Bear have graced postboxes across the country for World Book Day (Lynn Clegg/Margaret Upton/PA)

Popular book characters including Willy Wonka, The Very Hungry Caterpillar and Paddington Bear have come to life in yarn form.

Crocheters across the country have paid homage to World Book Day on March 7 by recreating characters who have brought joy to generations of readers.

In Walton, West Yorkshire, Lynn Clegg has created a Charlie and the Chocolate Factory topper, complete with a candy house and characters including Charlie Bucket, Willy Wonka and even an Oompa Loompa.

She spent roughly four weeks piecing it together by studying images of the characters.

Crocheted items on top of postboxLynn Clegg’s World Book Day topper (Lynn Clegg/PA)

“Everybody seems to love the Oompa Loompa one,” the 66-year-old, who is retired and used to have a regional office job at Asda, told the PA news agency.

She added: “I’ve enjoyed doing them all.

“The only one I did not enjoy making was Violet Beauregarde as I put some dark hair on her and it looked horrible, so I pulled all her hair off and put some more hair on.

“I try and get them as close to the characters as I can, but the facial features are always the hardest.”

An immersive Wonka event in Glasgow has made headlines for a multitude of reasons in recent days, with children being left in tears due to characters including “The Unknown” and parents demanding refunds due to turning up to find “an abandoned, empty warehouse”.

Mrs Clegg said when she went to put up her topper, she thought: “Oh my goodness.”

When she posted about her creation on her local village’s forum, two people commented: “Well, it’s certainly better than the one in Glasgow and said I’d ought to have taken part in that one as I would have done a better job.”

Crocheted caterpillar and food on top of postboxDebbie Williamson’s topper features The Very Hungry Caterpillar and the food he eats (Debbie Williamson/PA)

Debbie Williamson has topped a postbox in Forest Town, Nottinghamshire, with her crocheted version of The Very Hungry Caterpillar and the food he eats – including a cherry pie, sausage and watermelon slice.

“It’s the book I used to read to my own children and they’re now 35 and 33, so we’ve all kind of grown up with it,” the 57-year-old who provides administration support for her husband’s business transfer agency, told PA.

It took roughly 40 hours to make the topper, with Mrs Williamson using various patterns online to make the different components.

“The caterpillar got through an awful lot of things we don’t have patterns for like salami, so used the internet and books to try and make some of the food,” she said.

“It took me an eternity to sew it all together.”

Crocheted postbox topperDebbie Williamson’s topper has a mental health element (Debbie Williamson/PA)

She said she “loved” seeing the caterpillar come together, which has a wire coat hanger running through the middle of it to keep the form and provides support for the snow or heavy rain.

The crocheted handiwork also has a mental health element, as “worry worms” – “squidgy caterpillars made of yarn” – have been pinned around the top of the postbox.

“Three of the ladies from a yarnbombing group I am part of – Forest Town Yarn Bombers – have made all the worms for me and 150 worms have been rehomed with local families already,” she said.

“We just wanted to give people a bit of emotional support when they’re feeling a little fed up or blue.”

The topper is situated between two primary schools and children passing by it have expressed their “excitement” when they see it.

Postbox topperMargaret Upton’s postbox topper (Margaret Upton/PA)

Paddington Bear – wearing his signature blue jacket, which has been knitted, and red hat, and sitting on top of a pile of crocheted books with the words World Book Day on them – adorns a postbox in Ticknall, South Derbyshire, thanks to Margaret Upton.

The 71-year-old who is retired and used to work as an insurance broker, and lives in Swadlincote, told PA: “I was spurred on to make the topper because World Book Day was coming up.

“My daughter’s very good at finding patterns for me and she found one for Paddington Bear, and then I made the books he sits on – which are then crocheted round.

Topper on postboxPaddington Bear is the star of Ms Upton’s topper (Margaret Upton/PA)

“A friend of mine’s got an embroidery machine and she embroidered me two pages for the open book which is on the topper.”

She said it took around 80 hours to complete the creation, with Paddington being the most enjoyable element to make.

She posted about the topper in a Facebook group and said it has been “nice” to read the “fabulous” comments from people about it.

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