SpongeBob's return to Wolverhampton is big success

He let thousands of youngsters down at the Christmas lights switch-on last month when he failed to get up on stage because of health and safety red tape.

But children’s character SpongeBob SquarePants was back in Wolverhampton yesterday and keen to make amends for all the disappointment almost a fortnight ago. The TV star was at the Mander Centre meeting young fans and posing for photographs.

At the Christmas lights-switch-on, SpongeBob could not get on stage because for health and safety reasons, meaning thousands of children could not see him.

Citizens Advice Bureau worker Bonnie Edwards from Coseley took her 11-year-old daughter Haleigh-Jade Cole-Edwards along to the shopping centre. Mrs Edwards said: “We couldn’t come to the lights switch-on because I was working but we had a lot of relatives down there who were left very disappointed. When I read SpongeBob was coming back I knew we had to come and meet him.” Haleigh-Jade added: “I love SpongeBob. He is so funny.”

TV firm Nickelodeon covered the full cost of the yesterday’s visit – after the Express & Star revealed the city council paid £1,845 to hire the character for last month’s let-down. Spokeswoman Alison Bakunowich said: “People were queuing all day.”

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