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Cambridge man sells Sooty's TV van for more than £1,000

Matthew Corbett’s original TV Sooty Mobile, which was unearthed in a garage after 20 years spent gathering dust – and a spell spent living on the wild side – has sold for £1,100.

The van was put up for auction by Bruce Harward, 43, from Cambridge, who enjoyed plenty of adventuresin the vehicle.

Sooty TV's Mobile fetches more than £1,000 for Cambridge owner (22196696)
Sooty TV's Mobile fetches more than £1,000 for Cambridge owner (22196696)

He said: “When I was 18, I took it on a road trip across Europe and even to the odd rave. I always kept a vintage Matthew Corbett Sooty puppet in the glove compartment. He got a bit tatty and tattooed with Biro but he had some fun.”

The dad-of-one, who works in removals and at a theatre, was given the vehicle by Matthew Corbett, the son of Sooty inventor Harry Corbett, in the mid-90s.

“Matthew was my old next-door neighbour in Camberley, Surrey,” said Mr Harward. “I got to know his son, Joe, very well. In fact, Joe came on the European road trip. We took the Sooty Mobile to various countries including France, Germany, Holland, Switzerland and Austria. It stored all the camping equipment and Joe took his car too.

“Back in 1995, the Sooty Mobile was my everyday vehicle. I used it to get to work at Camberley cinema. In 1999 I eventually put it away in a garage and that’s where it’s been for the last 20 years.”

But now the Sooty Mobile – which is a rare Honda van and in need of serious TLC – was sold at auction yesterday (Tuesday) at Derbyshire’s Hansons Auctioneers. Despite it needing someone with a big vision to bring the tired motor back to life, it found a new home.

Sooty Mobile sold for £1,100 at auction (22196670)
Sooty Mobile sold for £1,100 at auction (22196670)

Mr Harward said: “It feels like a wrench to part with it but the longer I leave it, the more it will deteriorate.

“It’s not just important in the context of being part of the Sooty Show heritage, it’s a rare early Honda TN Acty van. It was registered in Tokyo 1976 then transferred to Honda UK to be used as a promotional vehicle. As far as I’m aware, it was the first Honda Acty van to be imported to the UK. It was used for many years on the TV Sooty Show from around 1978. It used to have white livery with Sooty painted on the side. In 1983 it was resprayed to its current colours. Matthew used the van until 1994 but then he moved to Granada TV.”

Sooty's TV Mobile goes under the hammer for more than £1,000 (22196678)
Sooty's TV Mobile goes under the hammer for more than £1,000 (22196678)

Two phone bidders battled with internet bidders to own the vehicle and Joe Taylor, 26, from Farnborough, Hampshire, won the day.

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