I am surprised and pleased to report that the BBC Radio 4 series, Great Lives, is honouring Kaye Webb.
I’m surprised as I would have thought that she would have been the subject long ago, but equally pleased that this is being rectified.
Kaye was nominated by old Puffineer Janet Ellis, the former Blue Peter presenter and author. Janet isn’t the only BBC R4 presenter to be an old Puffineer – Presenter and Comedian, Sue Perkins revealed that she too was a member during one of her last appearances on Radio 4’s ‘Just a Minute’ before she became the new host.
I was approached by the series producer to fill in some gaps about Kaye and the Puffin Club, although the biography ‘So much to tell’ by Valerie Grove has been of great help. So far, I don’t know if or who else is being brought in as part of the programme. As Great Lives is one of the few BBC radio series that don’t disappear from the BBC website after being broadcast, I will add a permanent link along with the Desert Island Discs programme that Kaye recorded – which is still available.
I have been away doing lots of other things, feeling safe in the knowledge that a Puffin Post/Puffin Club thing was out there for those that wanted it.
Sadly, I have just received the early Christmas card from the fab team at The Book People, who have been running and publishing the Puffin Post Club, and the news is that they will no longer be running it after Christmas.
Whether this means that it is going to disappear completely, or that Pearson (who own the Puffin brand) will take it on in-house, is not clear.
Despite the challenges of a book club for children in an age when they are increasingly print illiterate, I hope that it can still survive.
In the meantime, here is the first episode of the wonderful Odway strip by Jill McDonald.
This isn’t just a wonderful piece of Puffinalia and history. It also gives another insight into the character of Kaye Webb. I was recently contacted by a former member of the Puffin staff with a plea for other colleagues to get in touch.
I’ve just come across your website and thought you might be interested in the photo I’m attaching! I used to work for Kaye Webb and one year (around 1975) she had these scarves made and given to everyone who worked in Puffins. (As far as I remember, there were around 11 scarves!) I’ve managed to keep – and wear on occasion – mine for all these years and I’d love to know if anyone else still has theirs! Would be grateful for any ideas about how to get in touch with them.
All the best,
Marilyn Foufouti (nee Taylor)
If any of you are out there reading the blog, I will be happy to put you all in touch.
Another little treat for you. This is the original Puffin Club bookplate design. You would get a sheet of eight of these on pre-gummed paper. I think this has a lovely old school charm about it. It certainly felt like your books were safer when you lent them to friends (didn’t stop them from getting scuffed to hell though – you know who you are!!!!).
The design was created by the illustrator Roland Ferns, who had worked with Kaye Webb during her time at Lilliput. Some of his work was surreal and heading into more adult imagery, but this one image is probably his most enduring.
The new Puffin Post club has revived this design with a lot of colour and the addition of their puffin mascot – as yet unnamed.