A FAMILY has paid tribute to a 'wonderful' man ­— who they shared with millions of young people across the country.

Popular children's presenter Mike Amatt died at the age of 71 on Monday, June 28.

The talented performer, writer and illustrator lived in Bradshaw and was a much loved face on children's television.

Mike was the man behind the cartoon characters Mop and Smiff in the popular 1980s series and he also wrote and presented Playschool, and later Forget-me-Not Farm on the BBC in 2013.

Mike's son Michael, aged 27, led the tributes on his family's behalf.

He said that although the family are heartbroken by his father's sudden death, they will always remember the special times and the many laughs they shared.

"He used to make up stories for us all the time, especially when we went on family holidays. The stories would be a clue to a treasure hunt," said Michael, "He was a great dad and a good friend to a lot of people, he was always on hand to help.

"He was like Bob the builder, if anybody wanted anything doing he would turn up with his screwdriver.

The Bolton News: Mike Amatt strums his guitar with help from a furry friend, watched by St Maxentius CE School pupils in 2009

(Mike Amatt)

Michael said his father, who was also dad to Laura, aged 33, and Nick, aged 32, would always have time for his family. He stayed friends with Veronica, from whom he was separated and doted on his grandchildren, Teddy and Charlie.

His son added: "So many people have been sharing their stories of him, they are so many lovely stories of him."

Mike's family say he could 'turn a sea of frowns upside down'

A born entertainer, Mike was born in Salford, but had lived in Bolton for more than 40 years.

His television shows were often filmed in some of Bolton's most scenic spots.

In his younger years, Mike was in Shane Fenton ­— aka Alvin Stardust ­— and the Fentones, and the talented guitarist also played in Mike Sweeney and the Thunderbirds, known in the world of rock 'n' roll as Wellington Boothe

Michael said: "He has done it all, stand-up comedy, stage shows, he performed in Bolton panto.

"He would go to primary schools and visiting care homes in his 60s."

A funeral service is to take place at Overdale Crematorium on July 15 at 11am and people can follow the service at https://watch.obitus.com. Username is moqi9582 and password is 447257.

A memorial page has been set up at https://michaelamatt.muchloved.com.

Donations can be made in Mike's name to the British Heart Foundation.