The vice president of Chester Zoo, the crime novelist Ruth Rendell, has died - just a day after June Williams, daughter of the founder George Mottershead, passed away.
Elephant lover Lady Rendell was appointed vice-president in 2011 and was a regular visitor at the Upton attraction.
Speaking at the time of her appointment she said: “I am simply delighted to become vice president of the North of England Zoological Society. It marks the beginning of a wonderful new chapter in my life.”
The writer, who sold more than 20 million books, also named two of the zoo’s elephants but one, Jamilah, sadly died in 2013 .
Lady Rendell’s involvement with Chester Zoo began in 2002, when she became a patron of its Asian Elephant Appeal. Since then she has lent her support to a number of its conservation initiatives.
Her publishers Penguin Random House said she passed away in London today, May 2, at 8am.
A statement said: "We are devastated by the loss of one of our best-loved authors.
"Ruth has been published by Hutchinson since 1964 and under her pen name Barbara Vine, she wrote 14 novels for Penguin.
"Ruth was very much part of our publishing family and a friend to many at Penguin Random House. We will miss her enormously.
"Our thoughts and prayers are with her family at this time."
Ruth Rendell, who suffered a stroke in January, wrote more than 60 best-sellers, including the Inspector Wexford novels, which were turned into into a TV series starring George Baker in the title role.
Her last novel, The Girl Next Door, came out last year.
It was published along with a 50th anniversary edition of her debut work, From Doon With Death, in which Wexford made his first appearance.