Dad tracks down Postman Pat VHS for autistic son after heartwarming Twitter campaign

Strictly Come Dancing's Brendan Cole retweeted the tweet, which eventually found its way to someone in possession of the rare tape

LONDON, United Kingdom:  **** EMBARGOED FOR PUBLICATION UNTIL 2301 GMT 23 MAY 2006 ****  An actor dressed in the costume of animated children's television character Postman Pat leaves Buckingham Palace in London, 23 May 2006, as he prepares to deliver invitations to various British schools inviting some lucky children to a 'Children's Party at the Palace' on June 25. Postman Pat is expected to personally deliver the invitaions to the children who will attend a special tea party and live show in the Garden of Buckingham Palace. AFP PHOTO/CARL DE SOUZA  (Photo credit should read CARL DE SOUZA/AFP/Getty Images, BA)

And now for something all too rare: a positive, heartwarming story about social media.


A father who sought a rare Postman Pat VHS tape for his autistic son managed to track it down in less than 48 hours with the help of a Twitter campaign.

James Dutton’s 19-year-old son suffers from severe autism and had asked for the tape on his Christmas list, so his dad tweeted out a hopeful request on Sunday evening, which garnered over 7,500 retweets.

“Does anyone have or know of anyone who may still have this VHS?” he wrote.

Among many others, the tweet was seen by Strictly Come Dancing’s Brendan Cole, who retweeted it to his 176,000 followers. Thankfully, one of them – @Jilly284 – had a copy of the tape and got in touch with Dutton, who had been “overwhelmed” by the “heartwarming side of human nature” coming to the rescue.

“I didn’t imagine when I posted my original tweet yesterday that it would gain quite so much momentum,” Dutton told HuffPost UK.

“I have very few followers on Twitter so I asked my brother Julian (who has over 10k) to retweet it yesterday morning, and ever since then it’s gone mad. So many wonderful offers to look in attics, garages and charity shops.

“I picked up a message from someone in Littlehampton who believed they may have a copy in their garage, but another was found in Bournemouth! Hopefully his mum and I will go and pick it up on Saturday.”

Dutton also said he had received messages supportive from Woodland Animations, the company behind Postman Pat.


All in all, a welcome reminder of what can happen when people on social media pull together to do something good.