WHEN HE was a schoolboy helping on wartime Yorkshire farms, artist Leslie Simpson dreamed of owning a Border Collie.
Now he has three – Fly, May and Meg – who have inspired a fictional hero: Ollie the Collie.
Leslie, 74, a director of the British Society of Painters, has created the loveable but mischievous Ollie after a lifetime spent as a landscape and portrait artist. He is named after Olicana, the Roman name for Ilkley where Leslie now lives.
Ollie first appeared in a series of 200 original paintings and then in a popular calendar this year. Now he has been immortalised in this colourful and amusing book, The Adventures of Ollie the Collie, aimed at younger readers. It has just been launched with eight real-life Collies.
Novelist and dog lover Jilly Cooper is a fan. She wrote to Leslie saying his paintings were “absolutely adorable”.