FORMER York Press cartoonist Richard Stansfield - who drew the hugely popular Yorkatt and Eric cartoon - has died at the age of 72.

Mr Stansfield passed away suddenly at his home in Welburn following a heart attack on April 28.

He left no children of his own. But his brother Paul said he was adored by his sister-in-law Jackie and niece Courtney.

"Jackie always said he was the kindest and very compassionate, and Courtney will always remember his eccentricity and love," Paul said. "I will miss him enormously. He wasn’t just my brother, he was my best friend”.

Press journalist Maxine Gordon added: “Waiting for Richard’s Yorkatt cartoon to arrive was always the highlight of the day.

“Invariably, the cartoons brought a smile – and even belly laughs. Richard didn’t hold back, and sometimes we had to run the cartoon past our editor to get approval.

“Yorkatt was a much-loved part of The Press – and is a treasured part of our local history.”

York Press:

A Yorkatt and Eric cartoon

Richard drew his cartoons under the pen-name Wolf. He started with a daily political cartoon, before focussing on his weekly Yorkatt and Eric strip.

It was deceptively simple - two cats gossiping, often while perched on the roof of a York house. And, like the Wolf cartoon, it too regularly poked fun at politicians.

In a strip ahead of the 2015 General Election, the two cats discussed how Labour and the Conservatives kept trying to outdo each-other with promises on NHS spending. "I didn't realise the NHS was on Flog It," Yorkatt says.

In 2015, Richard took aim at York Museums Trust for introducing charges at York Art Gallery. "Well, Eric, people will still have a choice," Yorkatt says. "Eat at Bettys or see the Ettys."

Richard even took on the Church of England. Yorkatt and Eric were discussing why the Archbishop of York, Dr John Sentamu, hadn't got the job of Archbishop of Canterbury. "The Church of England think he's too outspoken," Eric says. "Wasn't there a man from Nazareth who also upset the establishment?" Yorkatt asks.

York Press: Richard Stansfield in his days as a Castle Museum photographer

Dr Sentamu was so pleased Richard had the cartoon framed and presented to him.

Richard Stansfield was born in York in 1950. He went to St Peters School, then got a job at HL Browns in Sheffield as a jewellery assistant.

From Sheffield he moved to London, where he became a silver valuer, first with Mappin & Webb, then Garrards, valuing silver for clients including the Royal Family.

After a few years he returned to York, becoming a photographer at York Castle Museum and starting his Press cartoons.

Richard’s character was warm and caring, and he was a loyal friend, Paul said - although he wouldn't suffer fools.

"But he had a wonderful sense of humour. I think this came out in his cartoons."

It certainly did...

Richard Stansfield, December 12, 1950 - April 28, 2022.

Richard's funeral will be held at St John the Evangelist church in Welburn at 12pm on Tuesday June 7. Donations in lieu of flowers to the Royal British Legion.