Tag Archives: Thirsk

James Heriot

On the 13th of March the Forum held its annual open meeting when members may invite guests to enjoy the guest speaker.

This year the featured speaker was Jim Wight, the son of James Heriot who wrote the books detailing his life as a vet in the Yorkshire Dales. Heriot’s real name was Alfred Wight and his vet’s practice was situated in Thirsk and Jim explained that his father changed his name and location to try and preserve his anonymity.

However, he sold over 100 million copies of his books and Thirsk’s James Heriot Museum has become a major tourist destination, particularly for American visitors.

Jim followed his father to become a vet in Thirsk and his talk featured a number of amusing stories involving his dealings with the local farming community.

One of the main characters in the James Heriot books was his business partner Siegfried Farnon, whose name was actually Donald Sinclair, and Jim ended his talk with a few tales about this unique person.

Forum Chairman Mike Earle thanked Jim Wight for a highly entertaining morning and Forum members and their guests joined in enthusiastic applause.

Jim Wight donates all his speaker’s fees to charity.

The Story of James Herriot

On a cold and icy Wednesday morning on the 17th of January 40 members braved the weather to hear the Forum’s guest speaker John Gilleghan MBE.

John was entertaining us for the fifth time; this time his subject was The Story of James Herriot, the vet from Thirsk whose real name was James Alfred Wight who had adopted his nom- de-plume for his very successful series of books about the life of a Yorkshire Dales vet.

All the main characters in the books were based on real people but were given fictitious names and the setting for the stories, the town of Darrowby was loosely based on Thirsk.

John has personally researched the lives of Alfred Wight and his family and obtained copies of many of their photographs which he shared with us in the form of a slide show with musical accompaniment.

The books were adapted for two films and a very successful television series of 91 episodes and details of these featured in John’s presentation.

John also introduced us to the James Herriot Museum in Thirsk which has recently re-opened after refurbishment.

Mike Earle thanked John Gilleghan for a very entertaining talk which brightened up a miserable day.