The teddy bear on which the much-loved fictional Winnie-the-Pooh was based may be returning to Britain for a home-coming visit for the first time since 1976.
Angela Montefinise, director of media relations at the New York Public Library where the visiting public can currently view the bear, said the curators were "absolutely open" to letting Pooh travel provided he was taken good care of while on loan.
Speaking to The Times of London, she said: "These dolls are very fragile. It is our responsibility to ensure their preservation and protection so they can continue to be viewed by the public."
Christopher Robin Milne, the son of English author A.A. Milne and a character in the children's stories, apparently intended for the bear and his other childhood toys to stay in New York.
But British fans of the children's stories have been clamoring for the bear's return for several years. Politician Gwyneth Dunwood asked former Prime Minister Tony Blair to raise the issue with Bill Clinton during a 1988 visit, saying "Just like the Greeks want their Elgin marbles back so we want our Winnie the Pooh back."
More recently, residents of Hartfield, the village from where Pooh hails, and notable English writers have joined the appeal. Gyles Brandreth, broadcaster and writer, said "for some of us our childhood is never over, so we'd love to have him back – if only for a holiday."