A "lost" film featuring Disney's first animated character, Oswald the Lucky Rabbit, has been unearthed in a British archive and is to be shown for the first time in 87 years.

A print of the cartoon, called Sleigh Bells and produced in 1928, was rediscovered by a researcher browsing the BFI National Archive's online catalogue.

Walt Disney Animation Studios has restored the cartoon, which is around six minutes long.

Oswald was created by Walt Disney and Ub Iwekrs in 1927 for Universal before the pair went on to create Mickey Mouse following a contract dispute with the film company.

The BFI said while other Oswald cartoons survived, Sleigh Bells had been feared lost and had not been seen since its original release.

What a joyful treat to discover a long-lost Walt Disney film in the BFI National Archive and to be able to show Sleigh Bells to a whole new audience 87 years after it was made.

Robin Baker, head curator at BFI National Archive

The world premiere of the cartoon will take place on December 12 at BFI Southbank in London as part of a screening of festive Disney shorts.