The Dandy artist who penned some of the best-loved cartoon characters of the past five decades has died at the age of 80.

Mr Bill Holroyd's passion for science-fiction coupled with his sense of humour saw him fathering an enormous family of cartoon characters, such as Brassneck, Joe White and the Seven Dwarfs, Iron Fish, and Screwy Driver.

Mr Holroyd was hired by Dundee-based DC Thomson in 1948 after he invented the character Plum MacDuff - the Highlandman who never gets enough, a strip based on a rotund greedy guts who constantly stuffed his face with his favourite delicacies of porridge and haggis. He was occasional Desperate Dan artist in his near 50-year spell with the comic.

Born in Salford, Lancashire, in 1919, Mr Holroyd started creating comic characters from an early age as a student at Salford Technical College and later Hornsey Art College.

Mr Dave Torrie, former editor of the Dandy, said: ''Bill was a completely natural artist with a great sense of humour. He had an ability to draw a script exactly as the scriptwriter envisaged the characters in his head. He was also amazing at adding in humorous background features that would make his strips really stand out.''