Dad-Of-Three Who Played Tinky Winky Dead Aged 52

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The actor who played the iconic purple TeleTubby, Tinky Winky, has passed away at the age of 52.

Simon Shelton Barnes, who lived in the Georgian market town of Ampthill, Bedfordshire, trained as a ballet dancer and choreographer.

The Inbetweeners actress Emily Atack, who is Simon’s niece, posted a tribute to him on her Instagram:

Simon’s son Henry posted on Facebook:

I lost my lovely dad on Wednesday, he was the kindest and most gentle man I knew and I love him more than anything!!!!

I always used to be embarrassed as a child that he was a dancer and an actor but now I couldn’t be more proud!

He is in a better place now and I know he wouldn’t want me to be sad, so I’m going to live my life the way he would want me to.

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Among the tributes was one from Paul McCartney’s brother Mike McGear, who said, according to the Mirror:

So sad to hear about Si. He was a luvly lad..and will be dancing along Uncle Bills bar, knocking Mum&Dad, Milly&Ginny, Mike &Betts drinks off, as we talk! [sic]

Luv to U & kids from me & mine. [sic]

Tinky Winky’s character caused some controversy back in the day due to the fact the purple creature, perceived to be a male, wore a red handbag.

Simon said:

People always ask me if Tinky Winky is gay, but the character is supposed to be a three-year-old so the question is really quite silly.

Relatives have asked mourners to ‘wear bright colours’ at his funeral at Bedford Crematorium on February 7.