A mischievous emu owned by legendary puppeteer Rod Hull is set to raise vital funds for East Anglia’s Children’s Hospices (EACH).
The arm-length bird has been donated to the charity by Capel St Mary’s Brian Poulter, who was given it by Mr Hull just after his famous appearance on Michael Parkinson’s TV chat show in 1976.
Emu repeatedly attacked Parky during the classic BBC programme, eventually causing the interviewer to fall off his chair.
It was afterwards, in the car park at Ealing film studios, that he met Brian.
“I worked for a garage equipment company at the time and was there servicing an air compressor,” said the 93-year-old, after delivering the puppet to staff at The Treehouse hospice, in Ipswich.
“Rod came out into the car park and I recognised him straight away, because of his long, shaggy hair. He was a real character and well-known at the time.
“He had another appointment to get to but one of the tyres on his car was flat.
“The breakdown company were going to be three-quarters of an hour so I offered to replace it for him.
“Rod was very grateful and asked if I had a family.
“When I told him I had three children, he said he always carried a spare emu in his boot and that he was giving it to me to say thank you.”
Brian said he was ‘king of the castle’ when he got home that day because his children instantly fell in love with their new toy.
However, as they got older, emu ended up in the loft where it remained for many years – until now.
“Hopefully it can raise money for EACH, which is such an important charity here in Suffolk and across East Anglia,” said Brian.
Ali Lansdowne, EACH Community Fundraiser, said: “It’s such a great story and it was lovely meeting Brian. We’re extremely grateful for his kind donation.
“The emu has clearly been well-loved and he has a very special personal connection to it, because of his children.
“It will be used for fundraising purposes and all money raised will help us continue providing vital care and support for children, young people and families across East Anglia.”