Charity in tribute to 'kind' Sir Terry Pratchett
PUBLISHED: 13:30 19 March 2015 | UPDATED: 13:47 19 March 2015
A SOMERSET animal rescue charity has paid tribute to a 'special' donor, writer Sir Terry Pratchett, who died last week after a battle with Alzheimer's disease.
Pauline Kidner, founder of Secret World Wildlife Rescue in East Huntspill, told the Mercury the fantasy author and nature enthusiast’s passing had affected her whole team.
She said: “Sir Terry was certainly a very special man.
“He never made any secret of his illness, and we knew it was aggressive, but it has still been a very sad time for us all.”
Sir Terry’s involvement with Secret World began in 2011, when he offered a generous reward to catch the person responsible for killing 36 swans on the Somerset Levels.
Pauline said: “He offered a kind £10,000 reward to whoever caught the person behind the swan shootings. Sadly, we didn’t ever find them, and Sir Terry let us keep the reward instead.
“Then when he visited Secret World shortly after, he was incredibly impressed with our work and donated a further £10,000 to us.”
Sir Terry went on to forge a close relationship with Secret World. He opened the centre’s specialist bird hospital, the Jasmine room, in 2011 and would regularly return to visit the centre, which rehabilitates sick and injured wildlife from across the country.
His daughter, Rhianna, is also a patron of the charity.
The Discworld author even wrote the foreword for Pauline’s latest book, A Place Of Safety – The Highs And Lows Of Working With Wildlife, in 2014, and Pauline admitted it was during this time when she realised just how ill he really was.
She added: “Sir Terry was very strong-willed and would say what he thought. He was very keen to encourage, value and protect wildlife, and was pleased to see our learning centre going ahead, which will be welcoming children to Secret World in September.
“Sir Terry, like us, agreed that education of children is the only way to protect our countryside for future generations.
“We hope his family will continue to visit Secret World and will be interested in our work.”