24th December 2010

Wombles author Liza Beresford dies

Elizabeth Beresford, who was born in Paris in 1926 and educated in Brighton, will long be remembered as the creator of the Wombles. It was perhaps inevitable that she would grow up to be a writer, when her father himself was a novelist who counted HG Wells, George Bernard Shaw and DH Lawrence among his friends.

She worked for a while as a BBC journalist and wrote several childrens’ books aside from those about The Wombles. Her most famous creation came about after a Boxing Day stroll in Wimbledon Common, the recreation ground in south London where the Wombles collect and recycle rubbish. The name came about when her daughter mis-pronounced the common as Wombledon.

A prolific author

The first of six Wombles books, simply called The Wombles, was published in 1968. This was followed by five other volumes between 1970 and 1976 comprising around two dozen stories in total. Throughout her life she wrote more than 100 childrens books.

Many of the Wombles characters were based on her own family members and have specific or meaningful names. One name that wasn’t based on her family, though, was Alderney, the name of the assistant to Madame Cholet, the Wombles’ cook.

The stories were later televised by the BBC in a series of 35 stop-motion animation espisodes. Each was five minutes long and narrated by Bernard Cribbins. For many, they would have been their first introduction to the concept of recycling, which wasn’t widely practices when the books had been written.

Known as Liza, Beresford moved to St Anne, Alderney, in the 1970s. She died there in hospital there of heart failure in 2010. She was 84 and had been awarded an MBE in 1996 for services to children’s literature.


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Other events that occured in December

French fishing boats prepare to invade 1st
Two cargo ships collide on their way to Guernsey 2nd
Guernseyman Herbert Le Patourel wrongly thought killed 3rd
A Guernsey funeral takes place in Cornwall 4th
Guernsey steamship SS Rossgull is wrecked 5th
The Guernsey Tapestry is completed 6th
Air UK Fokker overshoots Guernsey runway 7th
Naftel’s paintings go on display 8th
Guernsey and Jersey newspapers agree to merge 9th
Sark holds its first election 10th
Beau Sejour opens for business 11th
Victor Hugo flees France and Napoleon 12th
Explorer Edmund Kennedy is speared to death 13th
Author Mary Ann Shaffer is born
Herm bribery case comes to court 14th
Alderney’s evacuees return to their island 15th
Guillaume de Beauvoir appointed dean of English Church in Geneva 16th
Castle Cornet surrenders to Guernsey 17th
Telex, phones and telegram cables go quiet 18th
Guernsey shipwreck results in starvation 19th
Channel Islands Securities Exchange founded 20th
G-COBO has a bumpy flight 21st
Guernsey struck by an earthquake 22nd
William Hedley Cliff buys Jethou 23rd
Wombles author Liza Beresford dies 24th
Asterix is discovered in St Peter Port harbour 25th
Guille and Alles lease the Assembly Rooms 26th
The Red Cross saves Guernsey from starvation 27th
Operation Hardtack targets the Channel Islands 28th
Ebenezer Le Page author GB Edwards dies 29th
Castle Cornet is struck by lightning 30th
Guernsey Police makes the world’s first underwater arrest 31st