Call for plaque to be installed in Kilburn in honour of Gerry Anderson

Thunderbirds creator went to school in Kilburn, Neasden and Willesden

A historian is calling for a plaque to be erected in Kilburn in honour of the man behind the most iconic children’s television series who died on Boxing Day.

Thunderbirds creator Gerry Anderson, who was 83, passed away two years after he was diagnosed with mixed dementia.

Mr Anderson was born in Hampstead in 1929, the second son of Deborah (n�e Leonoff) and Joseph Abrahams. They later changed their name to ‘Anderson’.

He attended Kingsgate Primary School in Kingsgate Road, Kilburn, before going on to Braincroft Junior School in Warren Road, Neasden.

He won a scholarship to Willesden County Grammar School, where it is thought he went onto become a prefect.

The school later became Willesden High School before it became on of the country’s first academy schools, City Academy, in 2003.

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Mr Anderson’s plans to enter the building trade was scuppered when he discovered he was allergic to plaster.

This led him into the world of film where his first job was as a trainee at the Colonial Film Unit, a branch of the Ministry of Information.

In the 1950s, he established the production company which would eventually be behind hits like Joe 90, Stingray and Captain Scarlett.

But he will be best remembered for the 1960s series Thunderbirds, which followed the adventures of International Rescue and the Tracey family.

Mr Anderson - who also helped pioneer “supermarionation”, a puppetry technique using thin wires to control marionettes used in the show - took inspiration for the programmes name from Thunderbird Field, the strip near Arizona where his older brother Lionel trained with the RAF during the war. Sadly, Lionel had been killed in action during 1944.

But while Thunderbirds was his biggest success - even enjoying a resurgence in popularity in the 1990s - Mr Anderson kept working as a producer for many more years, his name appearing on the credits of 2005’s New Captain Scarlet. Most recently, he worked as a consultant on a Hollywood remake of his 1969 series UFO.

Mr Anderson’s passion for his career continued right up until the end of his life, it seems.

Speaking at the launch of the Alzheimer’s Society’s Memory Walk - a charity he got involved with as a campaigner after his diagnosis - he said not being able to drive was “the bitterest blow”, adding: “That virtually took away my freedom.

“It meant that I couldn’t go to Pinewood Studios where I worked, and this depressed me enormously because my film work was my life.

“Suddenly my life was cut off.”

Ed Fordham, from The Historic Kilburn Plaque Scheme, successfully campaigned for a plaque to be installed in honour of author George Orwell in Mortimer Crescent, Kilburn and Winnie the Pooh writer AA Milne.

Calling for one in tribute to Mr Anderson, he said: “Kilburn has lost one of its greatest sons - Gerry Anderson made a positive impact on the lives of generations of children - his work was ingenious, different and triggered the imagination of millions.

“It was especially great that Gerry’s work was marked with a set of Royal Mail stamps recently, and it’s only right that we locally are equally proud of his work.”

is already taking soundings from local residents about putting up a plaque to Gerry Anderson - one of our greatest sons. it is right that he stands in the company of AA Milne and George Orwell.”

Anyone wishing to help with raising the money for such a scheme should email