Sir Terry fans boost charity funds
Fans have donated more than £40,000 to a dementia charity in memory of best-selling author Sir Terry Pratchett.
Sir Terry, who lived near Salisbury, Wiltshire, died last week aged 66 following a very public struggle with Alzheimer's disease.
His death was announced to fans on Twitter in a series of messages shortly after 3pm.
They read: "At last, Sir Terry, we must walk together.
"Terry took Death's arm and followed him through the doors and on to the black desert under the endless night.
His daughter Rhianna later wrote: "Many thanks for all the kind words about my dad. Those last few tweets were sent with shaking hands and tear-filled eyes."
The Research Institute For The Care Of Older People (Rice) today said donations had surpassed £40,000 after a "huge pledge of funds" to its JustGiving website.
Sir Terry and his family had supported The Rice centre, which carries out research into assessment, diagnosis and treatment of dementia.
Rice, a registered charity, was established in collaboration with the University of Bath and the Bath Health Authority in 1984.
Sir Terry, an honorary graduate of the university, began attending The Rice centre in 2008 and was cared for by Bath Honorary Professor Roy Jones, the charity's director.
Professor Jones said: "He was a unique character who dealt with his dementia in his own unique way.
"That made him a great spokesman for the thousands of people in the UK and the millions elsewhere with dementia.
"He has raised the profile of Alzheimer's disease and other forms of dementia; his courage in doing this has been an enormous help to everyone affected as well as to researchers trying to find a more effective treatment."
A Rice spokeswoman said the charity had never seen an online fundraising page collect such an amount of donations before.
"The overwhelming response, donations and comments illustrate how much he was loved and how many people he inspired and amused; he was larger than life and will be very much missed," she added.
Sir Terry's death was confirmed by his publisher, Larry Finlay, who said he was "deeply saddened" by the loss of one of the world's "brightest, sharpest minds".
Mr Finlay, managing director at Transworld Publishers, said Sir Terry "passed away in his home, with his cat sleeping on his bed, surrounded by his family".
He completed his last book - set like so many of his best-sellers in Discworld - last year.
Mr Finlay said: "In over 70 books, Terry enriched the planet like few before him. As all who read him know, Discworld was his vehicle to satirise this world; he did so brilliantly, with great skill, enormous humour and constant invention.
"Terry faced his Alzheimer's disease (an 'embuggerance', as he called it) publicly and bravely. Over the last few years, it was his writing that sustained him. His legacy will endure for decades to come.
"My sympathies go out to Terry's wife Lyn, their daughter Rhianna, to his close friend Rob Wilkins, and to all closest to him."
The comic universe he created in Discworld - a flat disc balanced on the backs of four elephants standing on the back of a giant turtle - made millions laugh and made them think as well.
His sense of fun made him stand out in the often po-faced world of fantasy literature - he would turn up at conventions wearing a T-shirt saying: "Tolkien's dead, JK Rowling said no, Philip Pullman couldn't make it. Hi. I'm Terry Pratchett."
Towards the end of his life, he used his fame and wealth to campaign for a greater awareness of dementia and assisted dying.
In 2011, he featured in a documentary about suicide in which he followed a man with motor neurone disease to the Dignitas clinic in Switzerland to see him take a lethal dose of barbiturates.
Asked why he wanted to make the film, he said it was because he was "appalled" at the state of the law.
A year earlier, he had used the prestigious Richard Dimbleby Lecture to call for assisted suicide to be legalised.
Anyone who would like to contribute to the fundraising for Rice in memory of Sir Terry should visit https://www.justgiving.com/Terry-Pratchett.