THE founder of a North East-based leather company has teamed up with the wife of the late John Challis, to create bespoke bookmarks to raise funds for charity.

Stuart Coupland, founder of Coupland Leather met Mr Challis, famous for playing the imitable Boycie in cult comedy ‘Only Fools and Horses’ at the 2021 Great Yorkshire Show.

A friendship between the two developed. Mr Coupland sent him one of his trademark handmade leather wallets, and the two kept in touch by email and on Twitter, where Mr Challis expressed his fondness for the products.

Sadly, Mr Challis passed away in September. Following a discussion with Mr Challis’s wife, Carol, Mr Coupland hatched a plan with Mr Challis’s publishers, Wigmore Books, to create Boycie bookmarks for the new book Being Boycie.

The bookmarks will be sold to raise funds for the three charities which were close to his late hero’s heart: Cuan Wildlife Rescue, Tusk, and the British Hedgehog Preservation Society.

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Each bookmark is handcrafted from vegetable-tanned leather in Coupland Leather’s classic rich red. Mr Coupland describes them as ‘the perfect salute to a true British icon’ and has embossed them with the logos of Wigmore Books, Being Boycie and Coupland Leather.

The Northern Echo: Being Boycie Bookmark

They have launched the book just after the 40th anniversary of the first episode of ‘Only Fools and Horses’ being aired.

Mr Coupland said: “Earlier this year, I was honoured to meet a legend I had grown up watching on the television and it was emotional to hear that he loved my work.

“Following his passing, I have stayed in touch with John’s wife Carol and we thought it would be a fitting tribute to bring together both the handcrafted leather he enjoyed and his beloved charities.

“I’m thrilled to be able to support his legacy in this way and I hope he would approve.”

The bookmarks are available exclusively from the Coupland Leather website at a cost of £12 each.

Only 100 are being made and all profits going directly to Mr Challis’s three charities. They are available to preorder now, for dispatch in November 2021.

Coupland Leather handcrafts all its leather products in house, from scratch.

There is a wide range of dyes, threads and amendments to the designs available for customisation.

Personalisation options include, stamped initials, dates and names, to laser engraving and corporate debossing stamps.

For more information, visit

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Mrs Challis said: “John always liked to champion small independent companies by promoting them on Twitter or by making video messages, in the hope that the word would spread.

“We set up Wigmore Books to publish John’s autobiography and then he decided to try his hand at fiction.

“Creaing a character called Reggie who is based loosely on Boycie, a London market trader who moves to the country, so the stories are very much in the style of ‘The Green Green Grass’.

“ We also put together a book about restoring our house and creating a garden - which John was very proud of.

"It is full of beautiful pictures, interesting history and gardening hints. All titles are still available from”

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