Meet the man who owns the worlds biggest Mr Men collection!
Meet Mr Obsessive! This is the man who’s splashed thousands of pounds on the world’s biggest MR MEN collection – and now he plans to open a Mr Men THEME PARK.
Ben Daly, 23, has spent nearly two decades collecting anything and everything to do with the childhood classic – and now he’s got almost 3,000 items in his impressive collection.
Ben and his parents, Kate and Jerry, have spent the best part of £10,000 on the collection over the years – and Kate has even taken out special insurance for it.
Ben fell in love with Mr Men after Kate starting reading them to him when he was just a tot – and he’s been obsessed ever since.
Ben, from Eastbourne, East Sussex, said: “Mum used to read me the books, as she had loved them as a child – she said they were the only thing she could draw easily!
“Since then I’ve been hooked.
“The very first thing I bought was a McDonald’s set of Mr Men characters from a boot market.
“I just really enjoyed the humour and simplicity in the stories – I liked that every story had a moral.
“My favourite character is Mr Small – I was always the smallest at school, so that’s why I love his story the most.
Over the years Ben has collected anything and everything Mr Men related.
Not only does he have all the books, Ben also has thousands of Mr Men trinkets picked up from car boot sales, as well as rare items including a discontinued Mr Bump pencil case that was withdrawn due to the caption ‘if you don’t keep your pencils in it I’ll come and bump you’.
Ben said: “I get a lot of things from boot markets, jumble sales and antique shops, but most of my rare finds have come from eBay or online.
“I have a lot of unique items – a Mr Happy egg cup complete in its box, a full set of Mr Men puppets, the Mr Bump pencil tin, Christmas crackers, a rare Arabic LP record all the way from Iraq, and a set of framed Dairylea cheese wrappers.
“Most of them date from the 1970s.
“I also love the Mr Men shopping board game, and I just bought a coin operated Mr Bump see-saw ride, which is one of my favourites.
“The most expensive buy was the Christmas crackers – a box of 10 from the 1970s cost me over £160.
“The coin operated ride was £150 plus delivery, and the last puppet in the set cost me £132.
“But it’s worth every penny.
“I have nearly 3,000 items, but that’s a rough count – we’ve spent thousands.
“Mum even had to insure the collection separately!
“But to me the collection is priceless and irreplaceable.”
Ben, who prefers to keep his collection in mint condition rather than get the toys out and play with them, is now hoping to take it to the next level and open a Mr Men museum and theme park.
PIC BY DARREN COOL/CATERS NEWSHe said: “I’ve got so many items, that I won’t really know exactly what I’ve got until they’re all unpacked and fully itemised.
“People are always amazed when they see everything – I’ve only ever had kind words.
“When I was younger I got to go on This Morning with my collection, and met Philip Schofield and Fern Britton – which was definitely a highlight.
“Of course my collection has grown an awful lot since then!
“I’ve recently been asked for some of my collection for the Oxo Rower mini museum, to celebrate Mr Men’s 45th birthday – which is very exciting!
“I’m always on the lookout for more items, especially vintage items – I always ask for Mr Men presents for my birthday and Christmas!
“My next plan is to have a museum complete with a café, gift shop, mini cinema, indoor and outdoor play areas, a maze, a model village of Mr Men houses and maybe even crazy golf!
“So it would be like a mini theme park crossed with a museum.
“We already have the finance set up, so now we’re trying to find around three acres of land close to Eastbourne to get the ball rolling.”