Published on September 28th, 2018 | by Sam Rose
A Fond Farewell to John Cunliffe, Creator of Postman Pat
After his sudden passing, we reflect upon and celebrate the life and work of John Cunliffe, creator of Postman Pat and Rosie and Jim.
Adored by many for his incredible creation of the hit children’s TV shows Postman Pat and Rosie and Jim, we were saddened to learn of the sudden passing of John Cunliffe at the age of 85. Cunliffe was born in Colne, Lancashire and lived in Kendal, Cumbria. A keen poet and children’s author, Cunliffe was responsible for a series of poetry collections and picture story books. He will perhaps most fondly be remembered for his influence in creating the cheery fictional postman at the Royal Mail with his delightful Postman Pat character. Here are a few facts you might not have known about the gifted author and his work too.
The Town of Greendale in Postman Pat Was Inspired by His Surroundings
After living in Lancashire for several years, John Cunliffe moved to Kendal in the Lake District. It was here that Cunliffe would take great inspiration for the towns and villages that surrounded him. In fact, the town of ‘Greendale’ itself is based on the valley of Longsleddale, situated close to Kendal. In addition, Postman Pat’s workplace in the series, ‘Greendale Post Office’ is based directly on the real-life Beast Banks Post Office, which was only a short while away from where Cunliffe was living at the time.
He Was a Patron of the Ilkley Literature Festival
Cunliffe’s work within Children’s literature and time spent writing much of Postman Pat and Rosie and Jim lead to him becoming involved with the Ilkley Literature Festival. He became a patron of the event in 2003. The festival’s director, Rachel Feldberg, considers Cunliffe’s work to be iconic and inspirational for all, commenting:
“We were honored 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.”
Postman Pat Was A Faithful Royal Mail Employee
Just as he was in the television show, Postman Pat was also a faithful employee of the Royal Mail in real life too. Cunliffe, along with Postman Pat and his cat companion, Jess helped lead a number of charity initiatives and promotional work for the company from the moment that the fictional village of ‘Greendale’ hit TV screens during the 1980’s. Quickly becoming one of Britain’s much loved children’s TV programmes, the Royal Mail even had it’s workforce dress up at times as the iconic character himself, bringing joy and delight to many.
“He was very popular with children and his friendly manner and community spirit made him a good image for postal workers.” Royal Mail was saddened to hear of the death of John Cunliffe. He created a character loved by young and old alike, while highlighting the unique role that postmen and women in their red vans, play in communities across the country”
We’re extremely sad to hear about the passing of Postman Pat creator, John Cunliffe.
His creation of the legendary long-serving Royal Mail employee brought joy to the worlds of many children throughout his life.
Thank you for the memories. #RIP
— Royal Mail (@RoyalMail) 27 September 2018