Today marks 70 years since The Railway Series began as a collection of stories featuring Thomas the Tank Engine created by the Reverend W. Awdry.
Kicking off the celebrations, Thomas and his friends celebrated with a VIP party at the British Museum in London over the weekend. A host of special guests attended, including the Awdry family and an 8ft Thomas replica engine.
Attractions at the event included a selection of rare Thomas memorabilia, a 70 Years Thomas and Friends timeline mapping out his story, a children’s play area full of toys, a giant Thomas birthday cake and a First Friends Memory Booth for the guests to record their own Thomas and Friends memories.
Celebrities and their children, including comedian Rufus Hound, The One Show’s Alex Jones, and writer and presenter Danny Wallace, were among the party.
Christopher Awdry said: “Thomas has been one of my closest friends for the past 70 years. Having been dreamt up by my father when I was a young boy, his adventures have kept me entertained my entire life. It is a pleasure to see the joy that Thomas and his friends are still bringing to the lives of children today, and they will be keeping children entertained for many years to come.”
Wendy Hill, brand activation director, Mattel UK, added: “Thomas’ birthday party has been an exciting start to a strong programme at retail, marketing and PR activity with our partners that celebrate Thomas’ 70 years of pre-school heritage as well as communicating the timeless values of this much loved property. Thomas and Friends is the number one pre-school property, +18% YTD in the UK, and the brand’s values are as relevant today as they have ever been.”