The creator of beloved children’s books Postman Pat and Rosie and Jim has died aged 85.
John Cunliffe passed away in Ilkley, West Yorks., on September 20 but his cause of death is not yet known.
He was the author of about 190 books for young children, including five volumes of poetry, as well as picture books and collections of stories.
Fans will know him as the bearded boat driver – referred to as “fizzgog” – who often joined Rosie and Jim on their barge.
Children also grew up on the tales of Postman Pat and his black and white cat, Jess, in the fictional village of Greendale which first aired in 1981.
His death was announced in his local newspaper, the Ilkley Gazette today in the obituary pages, with a fitting tribute to the children’s author and presenter.
It read: ‘John Cunliffe left his Ilkley home in a deluge of rain on Thursday, September 20, never to return.
‘Even the skies wept for John, the gifted creator of Postman Pat, Rosie and Jim and author of many earlier published collections of poetry and picture storybooks for children.
‘John’s last poetry collection, significantly entitled ‘Dare You Go’ has now come to fruition for John has dared to go and has gone.’
Mr Cunliffe delighted generations of children with his tales of rural postman Pat Clifton and his black and white cat Jess.
The character was turned into a 13-episode series, first aired on BBC1 in 1981.
Mr Cunliffe wrote the original scripts and the show was directed by animator Ivor Wood, who also worked on the Magic Roundabout, The Wombles, Paddington bear and the Herbs.
Following the success of the first series, four TV specials and a second series of 13 episodes were produced during the 1990s, when Pat had a family.
A new version of the series was produced by Cosgrove Hall Films from 2003, which expanded on many aspects of the original series.
Mr Cunliffe – who worked for many years as a librarian and also as a teacher – was inspired to create Pat by the stunning scenery and rural life around his home in Kendal, Cumbria.
Greendale was based on the valley of Longsleddale, near Kendal.
His other famous creation was Rosie & Jim, a children’s TV favourite from the 1990s that follows the escapades of ragdolls Rosie and Jim, who live on a narrowboat.
He scripted and presented the first 50 episodes, then turned some of them into books.
Mr Cunliffe leaves a widow Sylvia and a son Edward.