SHE has hoarded 3,500 items of Mr Men memorabilia, and now a super-fan of the children’s book series has become vital in its 45th anniversary celebrations.
Michelle Harrop’s collection of all things Mr Men and Little Miss was chosen to be included in a ‘mini-museum’ held in London over the bank holiday weekend.
Michelle, from Rowlands Castle, has been a lifelong fan ever since the books were read to her as a preschooler.
She said: ‘Once I realised you could get cool stuff from Woolworths, Mr Men was always on my Christmas and birthday list.’
Even as Michelle grew up, her fascination for the saga ‘never waned’.
She said: ‘I had Mr Men bedroom wallpaper in all but one of the houses we lived in.
‘Thankfully we could be children longer back in the 80s and I had the wallpaper hung when I was 11 years old.’
At university, Michelle’s memorabilia became a ‘talking point when meeting new people’, and today her collection is insured for a staggering £35,000.
She said: ‘My collection grows every month with a variety of items including the magazine and other rare items that I find on eBay.’
‘As a child I played with all my toys and sadly some broke. I’ve been searching to replace them and add them back to my collection.’
Some of Michelle’s prized items were put on show at the pop-up museum on London’s South Bank.
Situated at the foot of the OXO tower, Gallery@OXO hosted hundreds of pieces of Mr Men merchandise, many of which belong to Michelle.
Among the display was Michelle’s most treasured item: an extremely rare Mr Men tea set.
She said: ‘It’s my favourite item in the whole collection because I have so many wonderful childhood memories attached to it.
‘One in particular is Christmas of 1977 on Boxing Day: I was five and served my extended family orange squash tea.’
Originally authored by Roger Hargreaves in 1961, the book series has clearly stood the test of time, with one Mr. Men and Little Miss book sold every 2.5 seconds worldwide.
Michelle is also joining fans in showcasing her stash in the Mr Men virtual archive, which she says is an ‘amazing way for fans all over the country to share memories of their favourite characters’.
Lisa McDonald of Mister Men Ltd said: ‘We can’t wait to see all the Mr Men and Little Miss items shared with all our fans around the world.’