Tufty Fluffytail was born in 1953, as a creation of the late Elsie Mills MBE. Original stories for the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents featured the squirrel and his friends to introduce clear and simple safety messages for children. Tufty was joined in his adventures by Minnie Mole and the naughty Willy Weasel along with Mrs Owl the teacher and Policeman Badger, who always popped up in the nick of time to save the children. In 1961, the Tufty Club was set up as a nationwide network of local groups. At its peak there were 24,500 registered Tufty Clubs. The characters’ images were changed to keep up with the times in 1979 and again in 1993.
The History of the Tufty Club
1962 - More than 60,000 children joined the Tufty Club which was expanded to admit older children.
1965 - Tufty Club was featured in a scene in Cyril Fletcher's Christmas pantomime.
1966 - There were now more than 2,000 Tufty Clubs.
1972 - Tufty Club membership passed two million.
1973 - The Transport and Road Research Laboratory reported favourably on the value of the Tufty Club which now had 10,000 affiliated clubs.
1979 - HRH Princess Michael of Kent became the first president of the Tufty Club.
1982 - The Tufty Club celebrated its 21st birthday with a national road show.
1984 - Comedian Ted Rogers invited Tufty to make his pantomime debut in Bournemouth to pass on road safety tips to his young audience.
1993 - Tufty was re-styled and modernised to bring him into the 1990s.
1994 - Tufty went on a nationwide tour of the country.
Tufty Press Releases
RoSPA Press Release November 18, 1998 - EVERYONE’S FAVOURITE SQUIRREL IMMORTALISED
Tufty the road safety RoSPA squirrel, who was a favourite for millions of children in the Sixties and Seventies, is to be immortalised in a limited edition range of ceramic figures.
The models of Tufty and his friends are being created by Cotswold Collectibles, whose founder members, Stuart Mitchell and Caroline Murray, were both in the Tufty Club in the Seventies - Stuart still has his club badge to prove it. They approached RoSPA with the idea of producing the range of Furryfolk Friends. Wade Ceramics, based in Stoke-on-Trent, has been commissioned to produce the first figure which is, of course, Tufty himself.
Tufty Fluffytail was born in 1953, as a creation of the late Elsie Mills MBE. Original stories for the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents featured the squirrel and his friends to introduce clear and simple safety messages to children.
Tufty was joined in his adventures by Minnie Mole and the naughty Willy Weasel along with Mrs Owl the teacher and Policeman Badger, who always popped up in the nick of time to save the children.
In 1961, the Tufty Club was set up as a nationwide network of local groups. At its peak there were 24,500 registered Tufty Clubs. The characters’ images were changed to keep up with the times in 1979 and again in 1993.
Martin Gomberg, RoSPA’s Safety Education Adviser, said: "Tufty has been an important character in road safety over many years and it is good to see he is still helping the cause."
The first models of Tufty were launched at the Wade Collectors’ Fair at Alton Towers on November 22, 1998 and Tufty will still be helping the road safety cause as a royalty will be paid to RoSPA for every model sold.
Tufty figures can be ordered from Cotswold Collectibles, 16 Foxes Close, Bussage, Stroud, Gloucestershire, GL6 8JZ. Tel: +44 (0)1452 741151. E-mail: email@example.com
RoSPA still produces a range of Tufty educational materials for use by children’s groups, teachers and road safety professionals.
Is Tufty still alive and well?
Yes, Tufty is still with us and RoSPA has a wide range of Tufty resources available. However, remember Tufty is just a character (albeit a very famous one!) and is just an aid to road safety education. It is important that children receive a well-planned programme of road safety education taking account of their age, stage of development, and the road risks to which they are exposed. Themes should include pedestrian skills, safe crossing places, planning safe routes, being seen by drivers, cyclist training, helmets, travelling in cars and buses and the Highway Code. No resource, however good, can replace the value of practical skills teaching at the roadside or on the road. Your local road safety officer will help you plan such a programme and advise on the best resources.
Tufty Club memories / Leave a message for Tufty!
I was a member of the Tufty Club in the early 60s, in Milngavie, just outside Glasgow. I have been compiling a tattooed memory sleeve and today I had our little friend added.
We were out for a walk today and my Mum told me all about you. When we came home I looked on the internet to see if I could find you. My Mum and I are delighted that you are safe and well.
Love and hugs
I have just been forwarded details of the RoSPA website by my brother who was looking for information on the cycling proficiency test for his son, and was amazed to see myself in the picture you have on the website, I am the one in the middle with the school beret pulled down!
I remember the day quite clearly when we visited the Tufty Club and took part in the road safety procedures, and think I still have my Tufty in the loft, which I think was given to me by Leslie Crowther, but my memory may be playing tricks here! I have just celebrated my 50th birthday, but seeing myself on your site made me feel young again! Jan
Well it's been a long time! Do you remember me? You taught me how to cross the road when I was 15. You were my hero when I was growing up. Sometimes, when the road is very busy, I often think to myself "How would Tufty cross this road?", and it helps me to get over it safely. I used to be a member of your club. I was so proud, I put it on my CV and everything when I left school. Please could you send me details of how I could join again, as I think my membership has expired? Also, do you sell cuddly Tuftys? I would love to put one on my checkout in the supermarket I work in.
Well it has been nice to catch up again after all these years. Take care Tufty. Neil
My Dad loved the Tufty Club. He was the local policeman and was often invited to school to be Policeman Badger. He really enjoyed himself and I'm sure his "work" helped road safety and police relationships in the community. I can remember walking through Peterborough with Dad and children calling out "Hello Policeman Badger". He thought this was wonderful. Val
I would just like to say a big thank you to 'Tufty'. Having treasured 'The Second Tufty Club Book' since I received it in 1969, my son went on to read the book in the 1990's learning road and home safety, and now a friends 3 year old daughter is showing interest in it. Although well read it is still in immaculate condition and hopefully one day it will be passed down to my grandchildren. Keep up the good work. Christina
I've just watched Life on Mars with my children, and have been telling them all about the Tufty Club. I remember going to the local council offices to become a member of the club and having an information badge and of course that all-important Tufty Club badge. Amanda
I was a member of the Tufty Club in 1963/64 and some colleagues and I had a conversation today about the Tufty Club. Two of our colleagues are in their early 30s and did not know what we were taking about, so we had to show them Tufty himself. Needless to say this brought back many memories. Jackie
Hello Tufty, I miss you. I remember you and I went to the Tufty Club. I want you back. Jill
Do you have any memories of Tufty? Were you a member of the Tufty Club? Why not leave a message for Tufty! Email Tufty at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Life on Mars
Tufty played a starring role in the cult BBC series Life on Mars in April, 2007. DCI Gene Hunt (Philip Glenister) donned a Tufty costume to escape detection when being sought for murder. DI Sam Tyler (John Simm) helped him after spotting Tufty being used in a school road safety lesson in the series which recreated life in 1973.