Deb Owns The Biggest Winnie The Pooh Collection In The World - And She's Coming To Play Pooh Sticks
|Astonishing: One of the rooms housing Deb Hoffman's collection
of more than 11,400 characters from Winnie the Pooh
The Owner Of The World's Largest Winnie The Pooh Collection Is About To Complete One Of Her Life's Goals – By Coming To Witney.
Deb Hoffman, of Wisconsin, USA, will travel 3,850 miles to Oxfordshire with her husband Gary to compete in her first World Pooh Sticks Championships.
The date – June 7 – will also be the first time the event has been held in Witney. Organisers announced in January the contest had become so popular it had outgrown its home at Day’s Lock, Little Wittenham, where it was held for the past 31 years.
With a little help from the Oxford Mail, they found a new home at Witney’s Langel Common.
When Mrs Hoffman heard the good news, she was determined to take part and achieve one of her “hunnypot” list of lifelong goals.
Despite achieving a Guinness World Record in 2010 for her astonishing 11,485 bears, Piglets, Tiggers and Eeyores, Mrs Hoffman had never attended the contest.
The 50-year-old told the Oxford Mail: “I almost won’t need a plane to get to England – I am so excited, if I had a balloon I could float there myself.
“I have been talking about visiting The Land of Pooh for many years.”
She joked: “This year is my 21st anniversary of my 29th birthday so it was time.”
Mrs Hoffman, who owns a web design business with her husband, was given her first Winnie the Pooh doll when she was two and has been a “Pooh fanatic” since.
In 2008, three members of Guinness World Records staff spent eight hours photographing her collection before granting her the world record.
She explained: “The characters describe the characteristics you find in everyone so you can relate to the stories. The stories are great life lessons and timeless so Pooh will always be relevant.”
While they are in the UK, the couple will tick another few things off the “hunnypot” list on an “All Things Pooh” trip.
Mrs Hoffman said: “We plan to spend several days in London and visit the Guinness World Records office, go to the London Zoo to see the Pooh statue, then spend a few days in Witney, staying in town at The Old Court Hotel, and participate in the Pooh Sticks Championships.”
In the game, competitors drop sticks off one side of a bridge and “race” them to the other side.
Winnie the Pooh creator AA Milne invented the game with his son Christopher Robin on a bridge in the Ashdown Forest, East Sussex, where he lived.
In recent years, the world championships, organised by the Rotary Club of Oxford Spires, has attracted up to 700 competitors on one day.
Mrs Hoffman said she had only ever played the game at the Winnie’s Hometown Festival in White River, Canada.
The town claims to be the place where a First World War soldier bought a black bear cub to take to England, which is thought to have inspired AA Milne to create Winnie the Pooh.
After they have joined the World Championships in Witney, Mrs Hoffman and her husband will travel to Disneyland Paris, then return to England and go to the Pooh Corner in Hartfield.
It boasts the world’s largest selection of “Pooh-phernalia” and they will also visit Ashdown Forest.
Friday 29th May 2015 - By Pete Hughes
Reporter covering Abingdon and Wantage, South Oxford and Kennington.
Call me on 01865 425431