James Herriot Foundation Trust

Supporting Future Generations of Animal Welfare Professionals

The James Herriot Foundation Trust has been established in memory of Alf Wight OBE (James Herriot) to raise funds to help future generations of veterinary nurses with their studies and to support them through their vocational education and development.

The Trust aims to provide bursaries to future veterinary nurses that will help where there is a gap in funding and where financial support would make a significant difference or to fund specific projects that would not be possible without additional help for the individual concerned.


Partnerships and Passion

The James Herriot Foundation Trust works with veterinary practices to assist workers in animal care related vocations and has established links with universities and agricultural colleges to encourage work experience and other forms of training for young (and not so young) people who have a passion to be involved in animal welfare.


Donate to their Dreams

The James Herriot Foundation Trust is a lasting legacy that helps to fulfil the dreams of people wishing to become the next generation of James Herriot animal care professionals.

Please help them to secure their dream – Donations to the James Herriot Foundation Trust can be made below.


Applying for a Bursary

For more information about applying for a James Herriot Foundation Trust bursary please email in the first instance to Ian Ashton, managing director, World of James Herriot at mail@worldofjamesherriot.com with brief details of your reasons for applying for a bursary and you will be duly contacted to complete the application procedure.


Alf Wight OBE (James Herriot)

Alf Wight was born on October 3rd, 1916, in Sunderland in the North East of England. At the tender age of three weeks he moved to Glasgow, and it was in this Scottish city that he was brought up and educated. From his first school, Yoker Primary, he progressed to Hillhead High School and it was here, following the acquisition of his first dog at the age of twelve years, that he decided to become a veterinary surgeon. He gained entrance to Glasgow Veterinary College in 1933, finally qualifying with MRCVS in 1939.


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The World of James Herriot offers visitors a unique insight into the fascinating life and incredibly popular books of James Alfred ‘Alf’ Wight OBE, FRCVS. Using the pseudonym of James Herriot, he started to write at 50 years of age, after being challenged to do so by his wife Joan, and went on to become one of the most popular writers of the twentieth century.

Alf wrote his much-loved stories based on his experiences as a young, Thirsk-based vet. His books, selling in their millions throughout the world, resulted in two feature films followed by the popular television series, All Creatures Great and Small, which enjoyed global success in the late 1970s and early 80s. Despite his new-found fame and fortune, Alf continued to practice as a vet for much of his writing career.

Alf Wight was born in 1916, in Sunderland, England, soon moving to Glasgow, where at the age of 23 he qualified as a veterinary surgeon with Glasgow Veterinary College. In 1940, Alf took a brief job at a veterinary practice in Sunderland, but soon moved to work in a rural practice based at 23 Kirkgate in the town of Thirsk, Yorkshire (better known in his books as Skeldale House in Darrowby) where he was to remain for the rest of his life.

In 1941, he married Joan Danbury at St Mary’s Church, Thirsk, and had two children, Jim, who also became a vet and partner in the practice, and Rosie, who became a doctor in general practice. Alf served in the Royal Air Force in 1942, moving back to Kirkgate in 1946.

He intended for years to write a book, but with most of his time consumed by veterinary practice and family, his writing ambition remained unfulfilled. After prompting from wife Joan Alf began to write, and after several rejected stories on other subjects like football, he turned to what he knew best.

In 1969 he wrote If Only They Could Talk, published in the UK in 1970, but sales were slow until St. Martin’s Press of New York received a copy and arranged to have the first two books published as a single volume in the United States. The book, entitled All Creatures Great and Small, was a huge success, resulting in numerous sequels, movies and a successful television adaptation.

Alf Wight died in 1995 but his books continue to sell, the television series is still played throughout the world and thousands of visitors continue to flock to World of James Herriot, established in 1999, in his hometown of Thirsk, North Yorkshire.