THE woman who created one of children’s TV’s best known characters has died.

Joy Laurey, who lived in Ardleigh, created Mr Turnip for kids show Whirligig, in 1950.

Voiced by Peter Hawkins, Mr Turnip went on to be a favourite for decades, as well as being named TV’s Man of the Year.

Puppeteer Miss Laurey, who real surname was Luczyc-Wyhowski, died on Monday in a Clacton care home, aged 90.

She leaves two children, Juliana Luczyc-Wyhowski, 54, and Christopher Luczyc-Wyhowski, 58.

Miss Luczyc-Wyhowski, paid tribute to her mum, saying: “She was such a fantastic mum.

“We had a magical childhood because of her.

“We had all the Mr Turnip toys that all the other children wanted and I’ve always remembered that.

“She loved her life and she was always trying to help people - we will miss her so much.”

Whirligig, which also featured Hank the Cowboy, his horse Silver King, Big Chief Dirty Face and Mexican Pete the Bandit, was the first children’s programme to be broadcast live by the BBC. It was aired at 5pm on Saturdays.

Miss Luczyc-Wyhowski, who now lives in Lincolnshire, added her mother continued to puppeteer after the show ended in 1956, working as an occupational therapist in Severalls Hospital.

She also set up Woodlands Occupational Health Centre, in Old Heath.

Her funeral will take place at St Mary the Virgin Church, in Ardleigh, at 2pm on June 16.