It is with deep, deep regret that I announce the death of Peregrin, h2g2's first elected President 2000-2005, who died at the age of 32 years 11 days on Friday 17th August.
If it wasn't for Peregrin, I wouldn't have ever found h2g2. My friend, The Fish had introduced me to The Hitchhikers' Guide to the Galaxy radio series some years earlier, and from there I went on to love the books and television series, but it was because of Peregrin that I came to h2g2.
I met Peregrin shortly after I went to Uni, in September 1998. I remember it well – it was the first week of term and I was in Safeways trying to buy food when a tall, odd-looking blonde guy came up to me and asked me what the best type of washing powder was – a subject on which I had little no knowledge or opinion. I kept seeing him around as he was in the same halls of residence as me, and after a week or two, over a pint and a game of snooker in the hall's bar we quickly realised we had quite a lot in common, including a love of the Hitchhiker's Guide. He even once attended a fancy dress party in the bar dressed in a dressing gown. Like Arthur Dent, he lived in his dressing gown. Unlike Arthur Dent, he had a disconcerting habit of throwing knives at things and people, and an obsession with balancing things. It was not unusual to find all the crockery in the house balanced precariously in a pile, all on top of one small china mug.
Anyway, on 24 May, 1999 he learnt of and joined h2g2 soon after it launched, and kept pestering me to join too, telling me how much I'd enjoy it. Eventually I gave in and, on the hall's old 386 computers signed up on 2 June, followed shortly after by my old friend The Fish. And I didn't look back from there.
He'd chosen the name 'Peregrin' for two reasons – firstly, because he was a character in his favourite book, The Lord of the Rings, although Peregrin's more often known as Pippin. Secondly – because his favourite bird was the Peregrine Falcon, the fastest animal on earth and a bird he often saw growing up in Wales in the Brecon Beacons National Park.
After the first year of Uni, Peregrin and I became housemates, and we continued to enjoy h2g2 together. Peregrin and I attended the second ever h2g2 meet-up in London, in December 1999. We were there for the following Hyde Park meet-up and the subsequent Christmas meet-up. Peregrin was one of the very first ACEs, chosen by Peta herself, and also one of the first subeditors. It was at this time that we put our names down for the h2g2 elections, choosing who would be the Presidential and Vice Presidential candidate over a game of rock, scissors, stones. Peregrin ended up being elected President and I Vice-President (although we have subsequently been deposed).
Peregrin started h2g2 Fiction, and was the first researcher I know of to have drawn his own smileys - some of which were later emulated by the official art team. You can see them at the bottom of this page.
Peregrin began frequently attending meet-ups, such as Leeds, Eden Project, Alton Towers and Oxford, as he had met Tinkerbell, a researcher he had fallen in love with and wanted to spend as much time with as possible. They became very close, spent a lot of time together and she moved in with him and the two would even get engaged1. h2g2 had found him love, although when they started actually living together, naturally he was on h2g2 less often. Sadly after a few years of happiness they split up, she moved away from the Isle of Wight2 and find a job in the west country. I think it was largely as a result of this breakup and associated memories that Peregrin stopped logging on to h2g2 so often.
Yet he always fully lived his life, and stayed one of my closest friends. We went to the Isle of Wight Festival together. We hiked from coast-to-coast along Hadrian's Wall together, with The Fish. He was an usher at my wedding. As he worked not far from me at the Mayflower Theatre, we used to meet up now and then for lunch. One lunchtime this year I dragged him round Southampton's SeaCity Museum shortly after it opened and interrogated him on what he thought over each exhibit.
The last time I saw him was at the Mayflower Theatre, when he'd got good tickets for us to see The Hitchhikers' Guide to the Galaxy Radio Show – Live. We had a great dinner before hand, where he told me how excited he was about his forthcoming holiday to America. He was going to go hiking and then have a motorbike ride across the continent, and we planned on walking the South Downs National Trail next year. He was having the holiday he'd hoped he'd have, celebrated his 32nd birthday, but then in California had an accident and died.
Of the friends I met at University, he was the first and the closest.
The last thing he ever wrote on h2g2 was 'It's like moving back into an old house. Feels comfy ', describing the return to h2g2.com.
These are only a few of the smileys Peregrin drew: