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World learns of Postman Pat creator’s death through local paper notice

The world has learned of the passing of the creator of Postman Pat after his death notice appeared in his local newspaper.

Author John Cunliffe, who was also known for creating children’s TV show Rosie and Jim, died on 20 September aged 85.

But news of Mr Cunliffe’s death did not reach the wider world until a notice placed by his family in this week’s Ilkley Gazette was picked up on Twitter by Harrogate International Festivals chairman Fiona Movley yesterday.

The notice, which said Mr Cunliffe had “left his Ilkley home in a deluge of rain” last Thursday “never to return”, was subsequently cited in national and international coverage of his death as Fiona’s tweet went viral.

Newsquest Yorkshire group editor Nigel Burton told HTFP: “Through his work Mr Cunliffe brought joy to several generations of children, and no doubt his stories and characters will continue to do so following his death.

“Postman Pat and Rosie and Jim are classic children’s literature characters that millions of youngsters have loved for decades, through the books and television adaptations.

“The fact that the news of his death has attracted so much attention around the world, since it was revealed in the Ilkley Gazette, demonstrates the high esteem in which he was held.

“He will be greatly missed – both locally and much further afield.”


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  • September 28, 2018 at 11:03 pm

    Time was, when someone in classified would have picked up the phone to the reporters’ room to tip them off that a notice like this had come in.

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  • September 30, 2018 at 7:23 am

    Nice try, Nigel, but if the HtFP story is correct the Ilkley Gazette revealed nothing. The Gazette published the death notice but didn’t appreciate it’s significance. It was Fiona Movley who ‘revealed’ the news to the world. Frankly, it’s a huge blunder by the IG and demonstrative of the need to have staff members – reporters, subs, receptionists and sales staff – with local knowledge.

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  • October 1, 2018 at 12:28 pm

    Dave S and Richard H are spot on. The industry today is full of people who couldn’t spot a story if they tripped over it

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  • October 2, 2018 at 9:45 am

    If anything sums up the state of so-called local papers it is this. An important local story that should have been the splash overlooked by local paper. Time was when death notices were shown to newsroom so that those with local knowledge could pick out news. But that is so old fashioned now, isn’t it?

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