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Last Updated: Monday, 26 January, 2004, 14:50 GMT
MP claims Postman Pat inspiration
Prisons Minister Paul Goggins
Paul Goggins' family name was probably the inspiration for Mrs Goggins
A government minister has claimed his family was the inspiration for the Postman Pat children's cartoon character Mrs Goggins.

Prisons Minister Paul Goggins made the claim after listeners contacted the Radio Five Live Breakfast show during a weekend interview about prisons.

He said his uncle had known the books' author John Cunliffe, and probably was the inspiration for the name Goggins.

Mrs Goggins, a grey-haired little old lady, works in the post office. Her catchphrase is "Ee, it's a bad job".

The MP for Wythenshawe and Sale East said: "My uncle Edmund Goggins was a teacher in Manchester and he knew John Cunliffe.

"They were both teachers in the city and knew each other well.

"I think it highly unlikely he just made the name up from scratch, but took it from my uncle's name."

The father of three added: "We used to read the books to our kids - and when I make school visits the children still recognise the name."

The idyllic world of Postman Pat and his black and white cat, Jess, became familiar to millions of children through the hugely popular books and television programme.

Since his first series in 1981, the unassuming postman has been one of the BBC's most successful children's characters, endearing himself to two generations of children and appearing in more than 50 countries.

Paul Goggins
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