Author of Jennings classics dies at 94

Anthony Buckeridge, creator of one of English literature's best-known wayward public schoolboys and inventor of the exclamation "fossilised fish hooks", died yesterday after a long illness. He was 92.

The author, whose tales of the accident-prone boarder Jennings, were translated into a dozen languages, was credited with inventing one of the most enduring characters of children's fiction after selling six million copies worldwide.

The first Jennings book appeared in 1950, about the innocent adventures of its lead character at the fictional Linbury Court School. His colourful post-war language included "petrified paintpots" and "crystallised cheesecakes". The 26-volume series had enjoyed a recent revival attributed to another famous boarding school pupil, Harry Potter.

The playwright Alan Ayckbourn, a lifelong fan, said last night: "The Jennings books were an important part of my childhood and an inspiration for my first play, written as an 11-year-old. I shall remember him with affection and gratitude."

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