PROLIFIC author, journalist and Craven Herald contributor Bill Mitchell has died, aged 87.

Bill, who had written more than 170 books, died peacefully at Airedale Hospital last night.

Bill started his career as a reporter on the Craven Herald in 1943, but his journalism career was halted for two years when he served with the Royal Navy. On being demobbed, he returned to the Herald and in 1948, was invited to join the The Dalesman magazine, then based in Clapham.

He stayed there until his retirement, 40 years later, and for many years single-handedly edited The Dalesman and its companion magazine, Cumbria, covering an area from Solway Firth to the Humber.

He was still a regular contributor to the Craven Herald history pages - and his latest piece is included in today's paper.

His work was recognised in 1996 with an MBE from the Queen and an Honorary Doctorate of Letters from the University of Bradford. In 2009, he was named Yorkshire Dales National Park's greatest living cultural icon.

Funeral details are still being finalised.