THE funeral took place in Hampshire today of the woman who designed the first costumes for The Wombles and help to turn them into pop sensations.

Elaine Batt, who was 87 when she lost her brave battle with cancer, was the mother of Southampton-born musician Mike Batt who put the novelty band on the road to fame.

The band, who had a string of hits in the mid 1970s, was based on a BBC children’s TV series about creatures who collect and recycle litter on Wimbledon Common.

Elaine Batt played a major role in the success of the Wombles pop group.

When the TV theme tune was released as a single in 1973, Mike asked his mum to make him a Womble costume, which helped him get the attention of his record company.

The Womble character Orinoco was soon turning up all over the country, walking into regional radio stations and boosting local record sales.

Mike said: “I wore that outfit for five days flat, touring radio stations round the country.”

The Wombles were soon hitting the Radio One airwaves and after frantic family sewing session the whole band was born.

Mike, 64, who became one of Britain’s top song writers and record producers, said as a child he cleaned up at fancy dress competitions because his mum was so great at making costumes.

She made lots of variations for all the different Wombles songs. For a Western-themed tune she made stetsons and waistcoats, and for Wombling White Tie And Tails she got plastic buckets and covered them in cloth to look like top hats.

Mike said his mum made a very grand, floor-length velvet coat for the cover of a new Christmas record, a remastered version of the original Wombling Merry Christmas.

Two years ago, Elaine was hard at work preparing The Wombles for their live performance at Glastonbury Festival.

At the time she said: “They’ve survived rather well, I think, but Orinoco and Wellington need some new school caps.”

Elaine died at Yeovil Hospital in Somerset shortly after Mike was honoured in the Queen’s Birthday Honours by being made a Lieutenant of the Royal Victorian Order for services to the royal household.

On his blog Mike said he was so glad that his mum was aware of that.

Elaine’s funeral was held in Aldershot today.