The BBC reports that the creator of the popular Wombles’ of Wimbledon Common stories passed away on Christmas Eve at the Mignot Memorial Hospital in Alderney, aged 83.
Elizabeth didn’t start out as a children’s story writer, infact she was originally a ghost writer for BBC Radio’s Woman’s Hour and wrote romantic stories for women’s magazines. The Wombles’ themselves were created as a result of a conversation with her daughter when she apparently said “‘…oh ma, isn’t it great on Wombledon Common?’ and I said ‘That’s where the Wombles live.’”
From then on she wrote the stories about the slightly unusual looking creatures who spend all day cleaning up the common and reusing the rubbish – essentially the first recycling company.
Later, the idea was picked up by the BBC and a cast of now very famous people took it upon themselves to create one of the best loved children’s TV series of all time. Bernard Cribbins provided the voices, Mike Batt and Elisabeth wrote the theme tune and Monica Simms was the driving force behind getting the series made.
Some of the characters were also based on real people, as she said in a November 2010 interview:
“Great Uncle Bulgaria was my father-in-law, Madame Cholet was from my daughter Kate… my brother had two children and John was a very clever boy who went to Wellington College, which is where Wellington came from… and Orinoco I just picked off a map.”