Thomas the Tank Engine and all the other anthropomorphic train books written by the Rev. Awdry have graced bookshelves around the world.
Thomas, painted blue and red, and displaying the number one was first and foremost the favourite engine, closely followed by Thomas's best friends Percy and Toby.
The stories origins lie in tales told by the Rev. Awdry to his son Christopher. They featured a small blue wooden train, made by Wilbert, but bearing no resemblance to the book and film illustrations seen today.
Wilbert Awdry was born near Romsey, Hampshire, in 1911, and his love of trains came from his father, who was also a vicar. Wilbert spent several years living in Palestine and it was there that he met his wife Margaret.
In 1996 work began on a stained glass window in Rodborough church dedicated to Awdry's 60 years of ministry.
The window was commissioned from stained glass artist and designer, Alfred Fisher, but Rev. Awdry collaborated with Fisher on ideas for the window.
The inscription "God be in my eyes" unites the two halves of the window
The Christian values and morals that Wilbert always spoke of can be seen in the helping hand given to the child at the foot of the tree
The four elements weave their way through each scene linking the windows message
Our eyes linger on the rather wistful faces of 'Thomas' and his friend
but then we notice the particularly memorable, but poignant image of Wilbert, closing the train shed door for the final time