Mavis the Fox in a Haverhill history video
A Suffolk fox’s moment of fame on a puppeteer’s video has become a You Tube Haverhill history lesson.
Britain’s Got Talent star Laura Bacon had created Mavis the Fox, with her broad Suffolk good ol’ girl accent, as a character for a brief appearance on her DVD to send for jobs and auditions.
But when she returned to her home town of Haverhill to film Mavis’ piece, it just took off as Laura’s curiosity about the town’s railway line, which closed in 1969, got the better of her.
“I thought I’d take her up the railway line because it’s something to talk about,” Laura said.
“I hadn’t been up Sturmer Arches, so I thought I’d go and have a look and talk about it.
“You always heard tales about the line – my parents and grand parents talked about it. Everyone still calls it ‘the railway line’ though it’s really become archeology.
“That’s how the video developed – I just though it was interesting.”
Mavis begins by introducing the town she was born in and saying how curious it is that it no longer has a station.
She shows us where the line went and the view from the top of Sturmer Arches and talks to Laura’s great aunt Doris Rowlinson and former Haverhill Echo editor David Hart and his wife Chris about the line.
Mavis, who Laura sees as being in her 80s, echoes the tales her creator heard as a child and talks about trips to London and the seaside on the train. London, where Laura now lives, is described as ‘bootiful’ but not so much so that Mavis intended to go back.
“Well, you’ve seen it now,” Chris says.
The line was among the 4,000 miles of rail routes closed by British Railways chairman Dr Richard Beeching in the 1960s.
Mavis points out he did it because he said not enough passengers used the line just as the Government started moving people to the town as part of its London Overspill housing project.
The result is an engaging and informative video that makes an aspect of local history accessible while showing off Laura’s talent.
It is not the fox puppet’s first appearance – it also appeared in a Days Inn Christmas video in 2013, though not as Mavis.
In 2014 Laura’s creation Patsy May, made it to the Britain’s Got Talent semi-finals