Dorking Kebab shop owner Ali Baba today told of his pride at winning an award for his 'Family Octopus Jumper'.
Baba, 43, who has owned the Kebab shop in Dorking High St for 6 years, keeps pet octopuses at his family home, but told how they suffered badly in the cold winter months, so with his son Hassan (nicknamed Harry by his school-friends), set about designing a jumper to keep them all warm.
"We own five octopus, two adults and three young 'uns, and although it's not ideal to keep them indoors, the kids love having them around, and they are part of the family. During the winter months, they were really pale, so I decided to do something. First off, my wife Fatma knitted individual jumpers for them, but the nippers wanted to be closer to their mum, so I helped her knit them all together into one big jumper which kept all five warm."
Ali continued "It done the trick and the 'octo family' were as snug as a bug in a rug. Gradually, visitors to the house suggested we should make more and sell them via the local Dorking Review publication. Sales were slow at first but an international firm saw it and got in touch. They suggested the name 'Octopus Family Jumper' didn't explain how many constituted a family. So we had a brainstorm and came up with the 'Forty Sleeves' title, because that explains how many sleeves are on the jumper."
Ali Baba and the 'Forty Sleeves' swept the board at the prestigious International Pet Clothes Design Awards (IPCDA) held annually in Chipstead.
Despite the prize, Ali remained modest. He says he couldn't have done it without Fatma, 'Harry' and the small classified advert in the Dorking Review.