John Cunliffe, creator of Postman Pat and Rosie and Jim, has died aged 85.
Cunliffe published around 190 books for young children, including five volumes of poetry as well as numerous picture books and collections of stories. His agency David Higham Associates, confirmed the news of his passing following a notice and obituary in his local paper, the Ilkley Gazette, disclosing that he died last week on 20th September.
“Left his Ilkley home in a deluge of rain on Thursday, September 20, never to return,” the Ilkley Gazette's obituary read.
"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 story books for children.
"John's last poetry collection, significantly entitled Dare You Go, has now come to fruition for John has dared to go and he has gone."
Cunliffe, born in Colne, Lancashire, lived in Kendal in the Lake District for much of life and worked for many years as a librarian and a teacher. He was commissioned by the BBC to write Postman Pat, first aired in 1981, and Rosie and Jim, in the 1990s, and went on to author an array of children’s books featuring the beloved characters, mostly published by Scholastic throughout those two decades. His first book, Farmer Barnes Buys a Pig (Macmillan), however published in 1964. He also published poetry collections including Standing on a Strawberry, The Minister's Cat and Dare You Go with Scholastic. And, in 1997, a stage play he wrote, called The Twelve Days of Christmas, was presented by the Hull Truck Theatre Company. Most recently he wrote a children's story designed for the iPad, Ghosts, in 2010. Since 2003 he was also was Patron of the Ikley Literature Festival.
Rachel Feldberg, Ikley Literature Festival's director, said: "We were honoured to have John as Patron of our Children’s Festival and I have wonderful memories of events he did with us. His work, particularly Postman Pat, was iconic for everyone who grew up reading, watching and loving those characters and will continue to delight children for generations to come."