1. ITV Report

Harry Corbett's Sooty puppet (which he bought for seven shillings and sixpence) has just been auctioned for £14,500

Sooty was discovered in Blackpool by Harry Corbett in 1948 Photo: PA

An original Sooty puppet purchased by Harry Corbett on Blackpool's North Pier has sold at auction for £14,500.

Corbett, who created the character 70-years-ago, paid seven shillings and six pence (37½p) to entertain his children on holiday.

He used soot to blacken its ears and nose, leading to the name Sooty.

Sooty went on to become one of British TV's best loved characters.

Harry Corbett and Sooty Credit: PA

The puppet was given by Corbett to his friend, the Blackpool-based musician Arthur Abbott.

He sent a letter to Mr Abbott, on Sooty headed notepaper, dated September 16, 1957, which read: "Just a line to say thank you very much for the list of tunes which came in very, very handy on the cruise.

"I have great pleasure in sending you one of the Sootys which I have used on television.

"Actually, he was in a programme where he got rather messed up, and he has since been washed. However, when he has a brush up I am sure he will look very nice. Again, many thanks and best wishes - Harry Corbett."

Mr Abbott's son, Steven, who sold the puppet said he was "delighted" with the sale at Hansons Auctioneers in Derbyshire.

"I loved watching The Sooty Show with my sister, Lorraine, when I was a child.

"The puppet was in our toy box. He was given to my father two years before I was born and when my sister was 16 months old.

"We knew he was a genuine Sooty from the TV show but were allowed to play with him.

"After my sister and I left home, my mother kept Sooty as a reminder of when we were children.

"My parents have both now passed away and we thought it would be nice to let someone else enjoy the magic of Sooty."

– Steven Abbott, Arthur's son