On November 8, 1920, a small bear in a scarf, sweater and checked trousers was sent off to the shops by his mother for honey, fruit and eggs.

Unfortunately he got lost on the way, but almost a century later, the adventures of Rupert Bear continue to captivate children young and old in the pages of the Daily Express.

Rupert was born when the newspaper’s owner Lord Beaverbrook noticed that while rival papers like the Daily Mail and Daily Mirror featured animal-based cartoons, the Express did not. He recognised that such strips could attract young readers, potentially winning their loyalty for life.

Artist Mary Tourtel produced the first Rupert story – the Little Lost Bear – as a single-frame drawing accompanied by the now familiar rhyming couplets.

More than 90 years on, the adventures of Rupert and his Nutwood friends can be followed on television, in the long-running series of annuals – there has been one a year since 1936 – and in the daily strip in the Express.

[Read more: Actor who voiced Rupert The Bear reveals dislike for the 'stupid' character]