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Budgie boost for Kids

SHARES in Sleepy Kids whirled 8p higher to 72p on news that Budgie, the Little Helicopter will be transformed into a chocolate cake for Marks & Spencer from February, writes Alison Eadie.

Sleepy Kids, an independent producer of children's animation, has the worldwide rights to animate and merchandise Budgie, the character created by the Duchess of York.

Two further licensing agreements bring the number of Budgie deals to 17 in the UK and six in the US. Music for Pleasure, part of EMI Records, will release a cassette of songs performed by characters from the animated series and Intarsia UK, a licensed character knitting pattern company, will publish a hand-knitting pattern book.

Rod Williams, cake selector for M&S, said Budgie represented 'a major opportunity for us to enhance further our novelty cake range'.

The cake will retail at pounds 7.99 and join Barbie, Sonic the Hedgehog and Mr Blobby on M&S's cake shelves.

Vivien Schrager-Powell, managing director of Sleepy Kids, said there was growing confidence in the success of 'this charming little character'.