Ed March 25th, 2021

A tribute to Zak Wilcox, from his friends, colleagues and those whom he helped His friends at Bristol Braille will remember Zak as a hugely talented colleague, a man you could trust absolutely, and, most importantly, a dearly missed friend. During his time on the team Zak taught himself the fundamentals of Braille and dedicated a great deal of time to understanding how his work could improve the lives of blind people all over the world. He didn’t need to do this. He could have been paid ten times as much elsewhere and gotten a lot more sleep in the bargain. But he did; he did all the crazy late hours and thankless rewrites. All so that people could read whatever they wanted to read, as they wanted to read it, without barriers. He only did it to put books into peoples hands. Not that Zak would have put it like that, naturally. We have received many messages of deepest sympathy from around the world to pass on to Zak’s family, Sara, and his friends. Most importantly, messages of thanks for his life and work. You can see all their names on his tribute page. They include New College Worcester school for blind students, the Helping Uganda Schools charity, Braille music companies and musicians, the Alabama Institute for Deaf and Blind, the Louisiana Association for the Blind, to name a few. A personal regret of mine is that I didn’t spend more time with Zak in the pub, after work, where a man usually so reserved would often open up and hold forth with wit and sparkle. How Zak coped with mortality was remarkable, moving and said more about his character than I can express. The last message I had from Zak was him asking after my health. He was determined not to burthen others where he could bear that burthen himself. Our workshop, and our lives, will be immeasurably poorer without Zak’s dry humour, his decaf coffee measured to within a tenth of a gram, and his remarkable talents. Our colleague Steph put it best: “Zak was a guy you could trust”. Ed Rogers, on behalf of his friends and colleagues, including the following; From current and former friends and colleagues at Bristol Braille, including John Fordham, David Sykes, Nick Rogers, Elena Duckworth, Steph Sergeant, Russ Couper, Jonny Taphouse, Ed Rogers, Liam Smyth, Hermione Moore, Charlie Harding, Mark Joyce, Nic Marshall, Sasha Welsh-Donaldson and Catherine Allen. From Braillists subscribers Paul Sullivan, Keith Shaw and Edward Green. From BBT subscribers and owners of the Canutes Zac developed and helped ship to many countries, including Daniel Crone, Gilberto Henrique Buchmann, Koycho Mitev, Russ Sparkes, Kate Risdon, and Niels and Jouke Pasveer. From partners and supporters, including Pedro Zurita, former Secretary General of the World Blind Union; Donna Thomas, Resonance Social Impact; Kevin Hately, New College Worcester; Denise Ead, Helping Uganda Schools; Bill McCann, Dancing Dots Braille Music; Roger Firman, Golden Chord Braille Music; Hazel Grian, Watershed; Celia Romero, Tenyus Social Ware; Antonio Daniels, the Alabama Institute for Deaf and Blind; and Sharon Geddes, the Louisiana Association for the Blind. Kate Risdon, a Braille reading flautist, said, “Zak’s work and know-how is an amazing legacy to those of us relying on Braille. Stay strong and know lots of people will be thinking of you.” Hazel Grian said, “Zak and I were part of the team who built a robot for Rusty Squid and Channel 4 in 2017. I appreciated his very dry humour, and his shyness, which meant he had a lovely vibe about him. He was quiet about his technical wizardry and he was greatly respected.”