World War Two veteran Richard Adams, who wrote the iconic children’s story Watership Down, has passed away at the age of 96. The writer, from Hampshire, is said to have died peacefully on Christmas Eve, according to a statement released by his family.
Mr Adams came up with the idea for Watership Down while telling bedtime stories to his daughters Rosamond and Juliet. The girls loved hearing his rabbit stories, which were based in the Hampshire countryside near their home, and persuaded him to finaly put pen to paper at the age of 52.
His story, however, was rejected by six publishers, who felt that it was not suitable for any age group. They said that its dark themes were too adult for younger children to cope with and that older children would not want to read about rabbits.
However, Mr Adams did not give up. He said that it was a story which would appeal to everyoen from the age of eight to 88, and a publisher finally agreed with him, releasing his novel in 1972. Not only was the novel a bestseller, but it was adapted for the big screen in 1978.
Mr Adams later said that the way his rabbits were depicted was not how he thought they would be. However, the movie and its soundtrack, which included the Art Garfunkel song Bright Eyes, have been watched and listened to by generation after generation.
The success of his first book led to him writing full time, releasing a numbe rof novels, including Shardik in 1974, about a wounded bear. Mr Adams said he thought it was his best work, but it never reached the success of Watership Down. He later released Tales from Watership Down, a collection of short stories about the beloved rabbits. The author was also president of the RSPCA in the early Eighties.