John Cripps, creator of the Pink Lady® apple, passes away aged 95

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John Cripps, the plant-breeder who naturally cross bred the first ever Pink Lady® apple in Australia in 1973, has died at the age of 95.

John Cripps’ work bringing the Pink Lady® apple to consumers across the globe was a culmination of 25 years of research which led him to have the ingenious idea to cross a Golden Delicious and a Lady Williams, creating the delicious Cripps Pink variety. Over time, other varieties, all related to the original Cripps Pink, have been licensed under the Pink Lady® brand, but only the very best apples from these varieties are selected, hand-picked and given the heart-shaped Pink Lady® seal of approval.

Cripps, a British-Australian horticulturalist, was formally recognised for his work in 2010 when inducted into the Hall of Fame of the Royal Agricultural Society of Western Australia for his influence on Australia’s apple industry. Cripps was also named an officer in the Order of Australia in 2015 for his “distinguished service to primary industry through internationally renowned, innovative contributions to the agriculture and food sectors, and to the community.”

Cripps has been described by those that knew him as a calm and quiet gentleman, but one who was passionate and dedicated to the art of plant breeding. Cripps’ daughter, Dr Helen Cripps, shared that the family was proud of his contribution to horticulture and to the apple industry, both in Australia and internationally. “He was looking for a particular taste, he was looking for the red colour, the sweetness, the crispness”. Cripps’ legacy lives on as the Pink Lady® apple variety has become internationally recognised since its release in 1991, listed in the top 100 greatest Australian inventions, and remains one of the best-loved apples worldwide.