The famous vet and author, Alf Wight, aka James Herriot was born on this day in 1916. Although he comes from a little north of the county in Sunderland, he moved south to Thirsk in 1940 and joined the town’s veterinary practice, where he would make his name. While working as a vet he also had ambitions to write a book as well. After several failed attempts to publish books about another love of his, football, he decided to concentrate on what he knew and loved; his work at the veterinary practice. His first novel, “If Only they could talk,” was published in 1970 and his second book, “It Shouldn’t happen to a Vet,” two years later. In his novels his real life work colleagues, two brothers, Donald and Brian Sinclair, became Siegfried and Tristan Farnon, while his wife was called Helen Alderson, real name, Joan Danbury.
In 1978, Wight’s books were made into a TV adaptation, based on his novels, which totalled ninety episodes by 1990. The World of James Herriot experience opened on the site of the old vets’ practice at 23, Kirkgate, Thirsk in 1995, after Wight’s death in the same year.
Cover picture credit: Mike Kirby geograph creative commons.