Elisabeth Beresford was born in Paris in 1928, although her family home
was in England. Her father was a successful novelist who also worked
as a book reviewer for several newspapers. She was the goddaughter of
Walter de la Mare (who dedicated several poems to her) and the children's
writer Eleanor Farjeon and enjoyed many literary connections, her parents'
friends included HG Wells, George Bernard Shaw, John Galsworthy, Hugh
Walpole, Somerset Maugham and DH Lawrence.
After 18 months as a Wren, Elisabeth began working as a ghostwriter.
She later trained as a journalist and was soon writing radio, film and
television columns and working for the BBC as a radio reporter.
The Wombles of Wimbledon Common were inspired by a child's mispronunciation
one Christmas, when Elisabeth took her children to Wimbledon Common
for a Boxing Day stroll. Back home that same day, Elisabeth made out
a list of Womble names. The first Wombles book was published in 1968
and, after it was broadcast on Jackanory, the BBC decided to make an
animated series. The Wombles' motto 'Make Good Use of Bad Rubbish' and
their passion for recycling was far ahead of its time and captured the
imagination of children everywhere, who began to organise Womble Clearing
Up Groups. Thirty-five five-minute films were broadcast on BBC1 accompanied
by Mike Batt's music and The Wombles theme song, Underground Overground,
Elisabeth was awarded an MBE for her services to children's literature
in the 1998 New Year's Honours List.