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Wincanton Mourns the Passing of Author Sir Terry Pratchett

Tuesday 24 March 2015, 15:03
By John Smith

The Discworld Emporium, Wincanton High Street

On Thursday 12th March the media announced the passing of author Sir Terry Pratchett. Although Terry didn’t live in Wincanton, he most certainly impacted the town in an amazing way.

Every year The Discworld Emporium stages two weekends, dedicated to Terry and his books, bringing hundreds and hundreds of Terry’s fans from all over the country (and world) to Wincanton, for fun and games.

Wincanton becomes a virtual Discworld for the weekend with the many fans wandering around town in amazing, and sometimes outlandish Discworld costumes. The town buzzes, with the local hospitality businesses worked off their feet.

Terry leaves Wincanton a great legacy that will never be forgotten. He will live forever in the minds and hearts of his fans all over the world, but particularly here in Wincanton, being the only town in the universe twinned with the fictional city of Ankh Morpork. Families today will be able to pass down stories to their children about Terry, his books and the famous Discworld Weekends in Wincanton.

Maybe someday people will ask about some of the street names in Wincanton, and why they were given those names. After all Peach Pie Street is a perfectly normal street name isn’t it?

On the news of Terry’s passing Bernard Pearson and the team at The Discworld Emporium released the following statement to the press:

On the passing of our friend, Terry Pratchett

Terry Pratchetts iconic hatToday our deepest sympathy is with Lyn and Rhianna Pratchett and also with Terry’s amanuensis and friend Rob Wilkins.

I once said to Terry ‘There are no pockets in a shroud’. We had been talking about him buying a new car and I said he could afford a Rolls-Royce if he wanted to but he was never a man for ostentation and thought he might look at a Jag. ‘Anyway’, he replied ‘it depends who your tailor is, I’m having bloody great big ones in mine.’

I’m writing this because right now I could find out if that were true.

I have known Terry since 1990 when we met in a bar in Covent Garden to discuss the idea of me creating small sculptures from the characters in his books. We found common ground in his days as a journalist and my days as a policeman and we became friends.

Over the years we spent a lot of time together, not just at the many gatherings at the Discworld Emporium in Wincanton and at conventions all over the world, but also for family celebrations at Christmas or New Year, birthdays and wedding anniversaries, lunch at the pub or bacon sandwiches round our dining room table. Every occasion enlivened by his quickness of mind, his encyclopaedic knowledge and most of all by his humour.

He was not always easy to be with; he didn’t suffer fools gladly and with his command of the English language a blast from him was something that this ‘silly old fool’ certainly would remember for quite a while. I have been bollocked by the best in my time but dear old Terry was in a class of his own.

Terry was in a class of his own in so many ways; other people will write about his wisdom and his skills as an author. I remember his kindness to his fans. No letters went unanswered and every person in a bookshop signing queue got his full attention even if he and they had been there for many hours.

He enjoyed spending time with his readers - he would say they worked hard to earn the money to buy his books and therefore he owed them. He also genuinely enjoyed their company.

We were privileged to co-author or as he put it ‘aid and abet’ him in one or two books. It was a revelation the way he could sprinkle stardust on a sentence and make it shine or take the germ of an idea, hold it up to the light, and within minutes polish it into something original, clever and very funny. We shall miss his many phone calls requesting information about police procedure, and latterly the location of a particular town, or the landscape of a train journey.

We shall miss him.

Bernard Pearson, on behalf of all at the Emporium.

A Just Giving page in aid of the Research Institute to the Care of Older People (RICE) has been set up in Terry's memory. Please consider donating to this wonderful charity via https://www.justgiving.com/Terry-Pratchett.




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