Wombles fans pay tribute to Elisabeth Beresford

Elisabeth Beresford holding an Uncle Bulgaria toy

Elisabeth ‘Liza’ Beresford: 6 August 1926 – 24 December 2010

Elisabeth Beresford, the creator of the Wombles, has died at the age of 84.

After suffering heart failure, she passed away at 10.30pm on Christmas Eve at the Mignot Memorial Hospital on Alderney in the Channel Islands, her son Marcus Robertson said.

The author had been ill for some time, and was a permanent resident of the hospital for the past two years, according to ITV Channel Television. Her funeral is expected to take place on Alderney in early January.

Legend has it that the inspiration for the Wombles books came at Christmas time, when she took her children for a Boxing Day walk on Wimbledon Common to let off steam. Her young daughter Kate mispronounced it, saying “Oh Ma, isn’t it great on Wombledon Common?”, and Elisabeth Beresford thought, “That’s where the Wombles live!”

The sad news of her death was reported around the world on Christmas Day, followed by some more in-depth obituaries:

Mike Batt said on Twitter: “Elisabeth Beresford’s passing is a very sad event. My condolences to her family. She was a lovely lady and will be greatly missed.” He followed this with a blog about how the Wombles changed his life when he was brought in to write the music for the TV series, and how he worked closely with Elisabeth Beresford and the ‘Wombles Ltd’ businessmen: Elisabeth Beresford – A Lady Who Changed My Life

He points out: “Even to this day I am still referred to as ‘The Man Behind The Wombles’, a fact which I would imagine must have irritated Liza as much or more than it irritated me (although she never showed it).”

Many Womble lovers have paid tribute to Elisabeth Beresford. Here is a selection of comments from Twitter and Facebook:

Dean Parsons, aka Haydon the Womble: “RIP Elisabeth Beresford who passed away today. She was the one who named me, and how better to pay tribute to her than get Wombling Merry Christmas to number one next Christmas?”

Radio WDON: “A fond thank you and goodbye to Elisabeth Beresford. Tidy bags at half mast in the burrow on the Common.”

Stintfang: “What a sad message. I have her personal permission for my Womble homepage in Germany. She was lovely when I contacted her. RIP.”

Author Neil Gaiman: “Elisabeth Beresford is dead. I never understood why her Wombles went huge while the Magic Books series were forgotten.”

MarcoCasual: “Awww. Just found out Elisabeth Beresford died. I loved the Wombles as a kid. Favourite Womble was Orinoco, the sleepy one who loved his food. RIP Elisabeth Beresford.”

exitthelemming: “Sad to hear of Elisabeth Beresford’s death (as every AFC Wimbledon fan will be). Hers was environmental crusading of the lasting sort.”

1972projects: “RIP Elisabeth Beresford, 1926-2010: the woman who brought us the Wombles (and in the process made recycling cool).”

peekaywrites: “Just found out Elisabeth Beresford, Wombles author, died Xmas Eve. I met her when I was about 8. Made me want to be a writer.”

HokusBloke: “RIP Elisabeth Beresford… The Wombles were one of the greatest creations ever. You will live on forever in our memories.”

gtisi: “Sad to hear news about Wombles creator Elisabeth Beresford! Met her once and had a wonderful long chat. My thoughts are with her family.”

jamieswhimsy: “RIP Elisabeth Beresford, creator of the Wombles. Your wonderful creations made my and many other childhoods all the brighter.”

BarbH27: “As a lifelong fan of the Wombles so sad to hear about the passing of Elisabeth Beresford RIP.”

FiShoop: “Sad to hear that Elisabeth Beresford, creator of the Wombles, has died. I loved the Wombles and her message of recycling is so relevant now.”

Minack4ever: “My favourite Elisabeth Beresford book was Knights Of The Cardboard Castle. I loved that book when I was young. She is a great loss!”

DoctorHewitt: “RIP Elisabeth Beresford, creator of the Wombles. You made my childhood that little bit richer.”