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Campaign for blue plaques in honour of West Hampstead Thunderbirds creator

PUBLISHED: 09:00 21 January 2016

Dick Weindling and Ed Fordham with one of two Gerry Anderson prototype plaques to commemorate the Thunderbirds creator  Pic credit: Adam Tiernan Thomas

Dick Weindling and Ed Fordham with one of two Gerry Anderson prototype plaques to commemorate the Thunderbirds creator Pic credit: Adam Tiernan Thomas

© Adam Tiernan Thomas

Thunderbirds are go in West Hampstead as fundraising begins in earnest to commemorate its creator with two blue plaques.

Gerry Anderson, who attended Kingsgate Primary School and lived off West End Lane, is most famous for the cult 1960s series Thunderbirds, which featured iconic characters including Scott Tracey, Lady Penelope and Parker.

The Historic Kilburn Plaque Scheme (HKPS) is looking to raise £2,500 to mark his contribution with two plaques: one on his old school in Kingsgate Road, and one on the Sidney Boyd Court estate, on the corner of West End Lane and Woodchurch Road, where he used to live.

Mr Anderson lived with his parents in a large detached house on the site of the estate from 1929 to 1935 before the area was bombed in the war.

He became a publisher, producer, director and writer, but was most famous for his futuristic television programmes, particularly Thunderbirds, which were filmed using marionette puppets with electronic moving parts.

An adaptation of the classic series, called Thunderbirds Are Go, premiered on ITV last year.

A second series is in the pipeline.

HKPS is hoping to raise the necessary funds by March to unveil the plaques at a ceremony in June, which will be attended by Mr Anderson’s son Jamie and, the society hopes, the actor Brian Blessed, who paid tribute to Mr Anderson following his death in 2012. Ed Fordham, founder and scheme administrator of HKPS, said: “Gerry Anderson is one of the most significant figures of the 1960s and indeed Thunderbirds is, itself, getting a makeover and re-release at the moment.

“We are making plans to put up two plaques to mark his achievement.

“Given Gerry’s influence on so many people’s childhoods it seems especially appropriate that we place a plaque on his local school.

“To enable this to happen we are asking for local donations to the value of £2,500 to pay for both plaques and the unveiling ceremony.

“Any additional money raised will be donated to the charitable causes that mattered so much to Gerry himself, such as the Alzheimer’s Society.”

The tribute to Gerry Anderson will join other famous Kilburn residents, including George Orwell and AA Milne, in Kilburn’s growing patch of blue commemorative plaques.

To donate to the scheme send a cheque payable to Historic Kilburn Plaque Scheme to Ed Fordham, 7 Douglas Court, Qeux Road, NW6 4PT or email ed.fordham@gmail.com.

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