Salisbury City Council’s Services Committee will meet later today to discuss, among other things, a proposal to erect a statue in memory of author and Discworld creator Sir Terry Pratchett in the city.
An online petition campaigning for the statue, which has been designed by artist Paul Kidby, has gathered over 8000 signatures and support from Sir Terry’s family and fans across the world, including Neil Gaiman, who collaborated with Sir Terry on a number of projects.
Sir Terry, who lived in Broad Chalke, died in March last year aged 66 after a long battle with Alzheimer’s disease. He wrote more than 70 books during his career, which sold over 85 million copies around the world.
Documents being presented at the meeting note Sir Terry’s many local ties to Salisbury, including his supported for local theatres.
In 2008 he walked to Number 10 with then Salisbury MP Robert Key to ask for an increase in dementia research funding and donated £500,000 the Alzheimer’s Research Trust. He went on to make a personal donation of $1 million to the charity. He also helped support Salisbury Hospital, including the re-vamp of their Dementia care facilities in 2014.
“We’re hoping to gain permission for the project to go ahead,” says campaign organiser, designer and photographer Emily Brand, who launched the campaign last year, “and to decide on a location so that we can continue refining the design with Paul Kidby and move on to creating and fundraising for the final piece.
“Sir Terry Pratchett is a national icon when it comes to creating fantasy worlds that bring joy to millions of people,” Emily notes on the petition page, “but there is little to inform the guests and residents of this vastly popular city of [his] involvement, or the love the community had for him in return. Salisbury take pride in many notable statues and works of art across the city, but we would like to campaign for a permanent statue, in a prominent location, in memory of Sir Terry’s incalculable role in the culture of this country.
“We’ve had a huge boost in support over the last few days, including some words from Neil Gaiman on both Facebook and Twitter.
“He would have said something a bit sarcastic about it, and have been secretly very pleased,” said Neil of Paul Kidby’s proposed design (although if there’s enough money raised we could perhaps yet see a recreation of Discworld and the turtle carrying it). And then he would have discovered that you can hide something inside a statue, and confided in all his friends that in a few hundred years people would be in for a surprise… I hope the statue gets made.”
A spokeswoman for Sir Terry’s family told the BBC last year that he would “undoubtedly” have found the amusement “in almost any statue”.
She said: “Sir Terry always said he would like to be useful in death, so a statue where a pigeon can stop for a well-earned rest would have amused him no end.”
Salisbury has already had a brush with a Pratchett-inspired art installation. Last year, the city’s Baron’s Charter Trail featured a Baron Painted in the likeness of Sir Terry Pratchett and featuring a number of the characters from his books.
Paul Kidby also lives locally and created the official cover art for the Discworld books since 2002. His limited edition bronzes are collected worldwide, and have been exhibited in London, Paris and widely around the UK.
• The agenda for the Services Committee meeting is here