A black tie gala dinner at Tennants Garden Rooms in Leyburn, with special guests from the cast of “All Creatures Great & Small” will be held on Saturday, 1st October 2016 from 7pm to celebrate the life and work of the famous vet and author Alf Wight OBE FRCVS (James Herriot) on the 100th anniversary of his birth.
Members of Alf Wight’s family, including son and daughter Jim Wight and Rosie Page, friends and colleagues will pay tribute to 100 years of the life of Alf Wight.The evening will include performances by music icon Lesley Garrett CBE and hosted by BBC TV’s Harry Gration MBE.
Alf Wight’s stories, based on his very own experiences of being a young veterinary surgeon who worked amongst the North Yorkshire farming communities, have sold in their millions and have touched readers from all over the world.
James Alfred Wight was born on 3rd October 1916 in Sunderland (his mother Hannah’s former home before she married Alf’s father James in July 1915). When Alf was only three weeks old the family moved back to their own home in Glasgow and Alf remained there for most of his young life. In December 1939 at the age of 23, Alf qualified as a veterinary surgeon with the Glasgow Veterinary College, taking on a brief post in January 1940 in a veterinary practice in Sunderland. He moved on in July 1940 to work in the rural practice of Donald J Sinclair in Thirsk, located close to the sweeping hills and rich valleys of the Yorkshire Dales and North York Moors National Parks, where he remained for the rest of his life.
Ian Ashton Managing Director of the World of James Herriot said:
“The Alf Wight 100th Anniversary gala dinner will be a fabulous evening and we are delighted that so many of the original cast of All Creatures Great and Small are able to attend. The event will bring together so many family, fans, friends and colleagues of Alf Wight and adds up to a fantastic tribute to a very special man, vet and author.”
Just confirmed, actor Christopher Timothy who played James Herriot is to attend the dinner. In addition, BAFTA winner Robert Hardy Esq, CBE, FSA (Siegfried Farnon), Peter Davidson, (Tristan Farnon and also the 5th Dr Who), multi award-winning actress Carol Drinkwater (Helen Herriot), Andrea Gibb, who played Deirdre McEwan in Series 4-6 and who is now a BAFTA nominated writer and her latest movie “Swallows and Amazons” has recently set sail into UK cinemas and Ali Lewis who was a local schoolgirl picked for the role of Rosie Herriot in the final series in 1990. Ali had the advantage of knowing the real Rosie, who was her Doctor! Ali has followed in the footsteps of James Herriot and is now an award-winning writer herself.
“This a real coup, to have all the main cast of All Creatures Great and Small together on this wonderful occasion and will likely never happen again. Alf’s books, films and TV series are THE biggest thing to ever have happened to promote the Dales and Moors of North Yorkshire which have become world renowned as ‘Herriot Country’.” added Ian Ashton.
A fund-raising silent auction will be held during the evening and proceeds will go to the James Herriot Foundation Trust that began with a very generous bequest made to the Friends of the World of James Herriot by the late Mr Thomas Frank Blinks who lived in Robertsbridge, East Sussex, and was a life member of the Friends of the World James Herriot.
Jim Wight and Rosie Page, son and daughter of Alf Wight, speaking about the Gala evening said: “This is a lovely opportunity to celebrate our father’s legacy and to support the James Herriot Foundation Trust that has been established to help young people who wish to pursue a career dedicated to animal welfare. Our father would be proud to be associated with this initiative and we are delighted that the dinner has been organised and supported by so many friends and colleagues together with the original cast for the tribute to his life and work.”
A limited number of places are still available for the event and can be booked online at bit.ly/HerriotHundred