Thomas the Tank Engine stamps add to church fund

Thomas the Tank Engine stamp (detail) (Copyright: Royal Mail)
Image caption Thomas the Tank Engine's author was vicar at a Norfolk church

A new Thomas the Tank Engine stamp collection, released by Royal Mail, is set to fund thousands of pounds worth of repairs at a Norfolk church.

The late Rev W V Awdry OBE created the children's character while vicar of Emneth Church, near King's Lynn.

Sales from the First Day Cover Stamps will go towards the upkeep of the 15th Century church, where the creator's family still keep in touch.

"The church needs a lot of money", said church council secretary Denis Pickles.

"There are constant repairs needed - some parts of the church are over 800 years old," he added.

The Rev Awdry served at St Edmund's between 1953 and 1965. He died in 1997 aged 85.

Many of the Thomas the Tank Engine books were written in the vicarage, with the character eventually becoming a children's favourite on TV.

The stamp collection was released to celebrate the centenary of the late author who would have turned 100 years old on Wednesday.

A blue plaque at the former Norfolk home of Mr Awdry was unveiled at the weekend.

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