Puppeteer and ventriloquist Eugene Lambert has died at the age of 82.

Born in 1928 in Sligo, Mr Lambert later moved to Monkstown in Co Dublin, where he died at home yesterday evening.

He is survived by his wife Mai and eight of their children.

Mr Lambert and his family were the driving force behind 'Wanderly Wagon', RTÉ's famous children's programme that began in 1967.

All of the Lambert children also worked on the show, which ran until 1982.

Mr Lambert was founder and director of the Lambert Puppet Theatre, which was established in 1972.

Minister for Arts, Sports & Tourism Martin Cullen has paid tribute to Mr Lambert, saying he 'enriched the lives of adults and children'.

Mr Cullen said: 'Eugene Lambert was a master of the art of puppetry and Eugene's place in Irish theatre is unparalleled.'

'Eugene was a natural storyteller whose words were entertaining and accessible to his young audiences', he added.