York & North Yorkshire

James Herriot statue unveiled in Thirsk

A statue of Alf Wight, better known as James Herriot
Image caption The bronze statue stands in the garden of the World of James Herriot in Thirsk, North Yorkshire

A life-size statue of a Alf Wight, better known by his pen name James Herriot, has been installed in a North Yorkshire market town.

Wight wrote books which inspired the film and TV series All Creatures Great and Small.

The statue cost £60,000, including £25,000 left in a will to the World of James Herriot museum in Thirsk.

Museum director Ian Ashton said fundraising would continue for a fund for people working with animals.

The James Herriot books were loosely based on Alf Wight's own experiences as a young vet working in rural North Yorkshire.

Mr Ashton said: "The aim of the James Herriot Legacy Fund is to provide bursaries for people wishing to embark on a career concerning the welfare of animals, and for whom the James Herriot stories may well have been an inspiration."

Image caption James Herriot was played by Christopher Timothy and his wife Helen by Lynda Bellingham in the BBC TV series

"It began with a very generous bequest by the late Mr Thomas Blinks who lived in Robertsbridge, East Sussex, and was a life member of the Friends of the World of James Herriot.

"Fundraising is now a continuous part of our activities to ensure that the vets and veterinary nurses of the future can apply for support from the Legacy Fund."

Alf Wight's children Jim Wight and Rosie Page said their father would be "proud" to be associated with the legacy fund and the statue was a "fitting tribute".

It was installed in the garden at the World of James Herriot in Thirsk, on what would have been the 96th birthday of Alf's wife, Joan.

His books were followed by two films in the mid 1970s, and the BBC television series All Creatures Great and Small from the late 1970s to the early 80s.

Image caption The BBC TV series ran for seven series in the 1970s and 80s

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