A TALENTED puppet maker from Tiptree is the subject of a brand new book amid her famous BBC character’s 71st anniversary.

The book, Joy Laurey - The Girl Who Pulled The Strings, is a celebration of the life of the creator of Mr Turnip from BBC’s Whirligig.

Joy, who raised her family in Tiptree before her death aged 90 in 2014, featured in Disney’s Mickey Mouse Weekly and worked alongside Gerry Anderson of Thunderbirds fame.

But her collaboration with Peter Ling and Peter Hawkins for the puppet Mr Turnip is by far her most recognised achievement.

The successful puppet maker and puppeteer is widely known as “the girl who pulled the strings” for Mr Turnip on BBC’s Whirligig - which is celebrating its 71st anniversary.

In later life Joy worked in the occupational therapy department of Severalls psychiatric hospital where she used her talents for puppetry.

She also became manager of the Woodlands Centre for disabled people in Colchester.

For the past 20 years new author Stuart Woodhead, from Lincolnshire, has been a Mr Turnip super-fan.

As a lifelong collector of puppets and vintage toys Stuart has amassed a wealth of original items, artwork, photographs, professional stage puppets and more.

He is now the founder of The Joy Laurey Archive.

Many of the photographs in his new book honouring Laurey’s legacy are exclusive and never before seen by the public, including behind-the-scenes shots on the set of Whirligig.

There are also archived personal photos of her trip to Romania for the very first International Puppet Festival in 1958.

Stuart is passionate about preserving Joy’s life work and legacy to showcase what a pivotal figure she was in the world of puppetry and ensure Mr Turnip will live in the hearts of generations to come.

This is the first book Stuart has written as what started as documenting items for the archive turned into the start of a book.

Unable to work in the first Covid lockdown last year, Stuart had the time and information he needed and quickly began to put pen to paper. 

The book is now available on Amazon at £10.99 for paperback, £16.99 for hardback and £4.00 for the Kindle e-Book.

It is also available on the website mrturnip.co.uk.

Stuart hopes to bring back the character Mr Turnip for a new generation and has already set about releasing books written by Joy Laurey which were never published.