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Pre-School Playgroups Association annual conference

(Photograph) - A six-feet-tall, purple and green Tyrannosaurus Rex cuddled overawed toddlers a the Pre-School Playgroups Association annual conference in Scarborough last weekend. Some children took fright and clung on to their parents but the friendly, American dino wouldn't go away.

For Barney, as he's called, who has proved a big success in the US since his birth six years ago in Texas, was sponsoring the conference. Since April, he's been busy on English television with his traditional songs and games, and has been aggressively promoted by an entourage of press officers, technicians and helpers. His success is a victory for American schoolteacher and mother Sheryl Leach who, despairing at a constant diet of violent children's television programmes, wanted to create a "wholesome" character that was not only educational but fun.

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