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Star studded VIP birthday event begins programme of celebrations.

70th anniversary celebrations kick off for Thomas & Friends

The 70th anniversary celebrations for classic brand Thomas & Friends kicked off at the weekend, with a special star studded VIP event at the British Museum.

A host of special guests – including the family of Reverend W Awdry and an eight foot Thomas replica engine – attended the event to mark the milestone.

Celebrities and their children including comedian Rufus Hound, The One Show’s Alex Jones and writer and presenter Danny Wallace (pictured) were also among the party guests.

Attractions at the event included a selection of rare Thomas memorabilia, a 70 Years Thomas & Friends timeline mapping out his story, 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 & Friends memories.

Christopher Awdry commented: "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 Hilly, brand activation director at Mattel UK, added: "2015 is shaping up to be one of the biggest years ever for Thomas & Friends.

"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 & Friends is the number one pre-school property, up 18 per cent YTD (source: NPD April 2015 YTD) in the UK, and the values of Thomas & Friends are as relevant today as they have ever been, continuing to resonate with children and parents alike."

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