At the 34th Richard Dimbleby lecture, 'Mr Alzheimer's' as many refer to him gave an emotive and frank insight into the disease that has stricken him and reignites the debate on whether someone who has a terminal prognosis should be allowed to dictate the terms of how they should die in order to avoid extreme suffering and have a dignified death.

The beginning of the speech held at the Royal College of Physicians was spoken by Mr Pratchett himself, however his good friend Tony Robinson took over as speaker due the effect that Terry's rare form of early-onset Alzheimer's has on his ability to read.

Terry also paid homage to certain members of the audience who sat to his right as he spoke.

These brave men and women all suffer with one form or another of Alzheimer's yet manage to go around the country talking about their condition helping many come to terms with the impact and progression of the disease on themselves or their loved ones.

One could not help but be impressed with the way that Tony Robinson spoke on behalf of his friend and was faultless in his recital of Terry's words.

The lecture was entitled "Shaking hands with Death" which is full of irony when you consider "Death" has been one of Sir Terry's main characters in his Discworld series of books.


After an emotional reflection on his father's death Terry then moved onto the central theme of the lecture which is his personal view on the right of an individual to say the hour of his or her death before illness holds them in a painful vice like grip torturing them physically or mentally.

Sir Terry spoke (through the impeccable oratory skills of Tony Robinson) about the right of a man or woman with his mental faculties fully intact to have full power of attorney over the fate of his or herself in a debilitated state.

Lets hope that Sir Terry Pratchett will be around for many years to come and a cure will be found within his lifetime….lets face it there is an entire population of Discworld inhabitants relying on him to make the sun come up in the morning.



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