BOB Pelham’s legacy to the creative world to puppetry and to Marlborough’s social and commercial history was marked in a moving ceremony in the town last Thursday.

A blue plaque as unveiled by the late puppet maker’s nieces Astrid and Sue Pelham and the mayor Lisa Farrell before a crowd of onlookers in Kingsbury Street as close to the original puppet workshop as possible.

Afterwards there was a reception in the town hall with a display of Pelham Puppets, a demonstration of the puppets by a ventriloquist and a talk by Pelham biographer David Leach.

A rival biographer Lars Peter Beavan also attended but their previous disagreements over the exact location of the puppet workshop were put to one side to mark the celebration of one of Marlborough's favourite sons.

Sue Pelham said that Bob had been an adored uncle and it had been an emotional moment when they unveiled the plaque.

Mr Leach, 64, said: "I've been working towards this for two years with wonderful support from the town council. Bob Pelham was a very kind and generous man and gave me his blessing to write the story of the puppet business."

Mr Beavan who is writing his own account of the puppet maker said the puppets brought joy to children. He said: "Bob Pelham was a genius and his legacy lives on with world wide interest in the puppets with collectors and enthusiasts keeping his memory alive."

Among those present at the reception were former members of staff of a business that had employed 70 workers, 100 outworkers producing 2,000 puppets a week in the 1950s.

Former employee Ann Field wrote: "The time has come to say goodbye, this ends our little show, And I must do my best, to try to thank you 'afore you go.'"