John Cunliffe, the creator of children's TV show Postman Pat and the writer of Rosie and Jim, has passed away at the age of 85, it has been confirmed. On Thursday, a representative for the author announced he died at home after a short illness. A notice of his death was published in the Ilkley Gazette and read: "John Cunliffe left his Ilkley home in a deluge of rain on 20 September, 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 story books for children."
Rosie and Jim creator John Cunliffe has died aged 85
The post added: "John's last poetry collection, significantly entitled Dare You Go, has now come to fruition for John [who] has dared to go and has gone." Over the past forty years, Postman Pat has been a popular character amongst many - including the likes of Prince William. The official Facebook page for the Ilkley Literature Festival paid tribute to John, who had been involved in the Festival for years. "We were very sad to hear that John Cunliffe, creator of Postman Pat, Rosie and Jim and many other much loved children's characters passed away last week," the statement read.
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"John, who was a long time Ilkley resident, became Patron of our Children's Festival when it started in 2003 and delighted children and parents at many Festival events over the years. Postman Pat first aired on the BBC in 1982, and continues to air new episodes on CBeebies. The treasured show is set in a rural landscape inspired by the author's childhood in the Lake District. Before John became a full-time writer, he worked as a teacher and a librarian.