Gillian Baverstock

TO the end Gillian Baverstock, Enid Blyton's elder daughter, who has died aged 75 in Airedale Hospital, was thinking of her grandchildren, which epitomised her lifelong love and devotion to young people.

Born Gillian Mary Pollock on July 15 1931 to Major Hugh Pollock, a one-time confidante of Winston Churchill, and the hugely-popular children's author, Gillian had a happy childhood and adored her mother.

This was despite the many changes in the household brought about by her mother's long hours of work, subsequent separation from Hugh Pollock and marriage to Kenneth Darrell-Waters, a surgeon.

Educated at Benenden School and St Andrews University, where she read history, Gillian inherited her mother's deep understanding of children's minds and thought processes and in many respects this influenced the course of her life, particularly in the later years.

Her first job was as editor of a children's encyclopaedia, but her career in publishing was placed on hold after meeting and subsequently marrying Donald Baverstock in 1957.

Donald was at the time rapidly progressing through the ranks of the BBC and Gillian saw it as her duty to support him, shouldering the lion's share of the burden of raising their family.

She nevertheless managed to fit in some part-time primary school teaching, while attending numerous events associated with Donald's activities as editor of Tonight, producer of That Was The Week That Was and eventually controller of BBC1.

Many of those whose own careers were assisted by Donald's activities, now household names, found Gillian to be a charming and knowledgeable hostess, and always ready to help.

In 1967, Gillian moved with her family from London to Yorkshire, again in support of her husband when he took up the post of director of programmes with the newly-formed Yorkshire Television.

Gillian settled comfortably into her new surroundings, and the community very quickly accepted her despite, or perhaps because of, a demeanour more akin to a grande dame of the old school well suited to London society.

The death of her mother in 1968 acted in some ways as a trigger to Gillian who began once again to pursue her own career.

She took on the responsibility of promoting Enid's work, its value to children's literacy and in developing the reading habit, which she was still engaged with up to her recent untimely illness.

She was instrumental in the sale in 1996 of Darrell Waters, the family company which owned the Blyton copyrights, and again saw this as an opportunity to further disseminate her mother's work, rather than an end to her involvement.

A consultancy for her followed and she also ended up advising the BBC on its Noddy magazine launched around the same time. She later set up her own magazine for children, based upon her own stories rather than those of her mother.

Indeed, it quickly became clear to many teachers and festival organisers that Gillian's knowledge of children's literature and literacy extended well beyond her mother's work. and she was in constant demand to speak at schools up and down the country up until her death.

Gillian was delighted by the opportunities this presented her in meeting young people and one of her greatest joys was the number of youngsters she came into contact with who then kept in touch over the years.

The same applied to those who she taught at Moorfields School in Ilkley, where she became a full-time teacher from the mid-1970s, and later a governor, having found herself in the position of family breadwinner due to her husband's declining career.

She also dealt with tragedy, as in 1981 she had to care for her eldest son Glyn following a car accident, refusing to believe he would not recover, although he died in 1983.

This was followed by Donald's death in 1995 after a prolonged period of increased need for her attention following his last abortive attempt to re-enter the changed world of television.

Gillian played the piano – Bach and Handel being her favourite composers – and was actively involved in the Wharfedale Music Festival. She sang alto in the Bolton Priory church choir, was a member of the parochial church council and wrote for the church magazine.

She had a particular fondness for the musical Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, and shared her enjoyment of it with the children at Moorfields School.

She missed no opportunity to encourage young people in their endeavours, coaching them especially in drama and music as she saw these as ways in which they could gain self-assurance.

Gillian was also a trustee of the Michael Peacock Foundation.

Her greatest joy of the last 15 years, however, was her grandchildren, on whom she doted. There was further tragedy to come with the death of her own eldest daughter in 2006, but this was overcome with typical stoicism as she focused on the next generation.

She leaves her remaining children, Sara and Owain, and grandchildren Alec, Dominic, Georgina, Glyn, Jeremy and Zoe.

The funeral is on Monday, July 9, Bolton Priory, Bolton Abbey at noon.