Tributes have been paid to Newton-born Oscar winner Colin Welland has died aged 81, his family have announced.
He had been suffering from Alzheimer’s disease for several years.
The actor and screenwriter won an Academy award for Best Original Screenplay for his script for Chariots of Fire.
He was raised in Newton-le-Willows where he developed his love of writing, acting and the theatre.
In a statement released via his literary agent Anthony Jones, his family said: “Colin will be desperately missed by his family and friends.
“Alzheimer’s is a cruel illness and there have been difficult times but in the end Colin died peacefully in his sleep.
“We are proud of Colin’s many achievements during his life but most of all he will be missed as a loving and generous friend, husband, father and granddad.”
Welland is survived by his wife Patricia, four children and six grandchildren.
Born in 1934, he made his name as PC David Graham in the hit series Z-Cars.
He also appeared in the TV detective drama, The Sweeney, and the Ken Loach film, Kes.
He later moved away from acting to concentrate on screenwriting.
His biggest hit was the film Chariots of Fire.
Sections of the film were shot in Welland’s hometown, with Cowley High’s changing room doubling as Olympic training squad facilities.
He was also propelled him to greater fame when he famously including the phrase ‘The British are coming’ in his acceptance speech.