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Last Updated: Monday, 17 October 2005, 10:49 GMT 11:49 UK
Peel's records stay in the family
John Peel with record collection
Peel reportedly had one of the UK's biggest record collections
John Peel's widow is to hold onto the late broadcaster's record collection because it would be "just awful" to part with it, she has said.

Sheila Ravenscroft told the BBC World Service the records "are John", scotching speculation that they are about to go to the British Library.

Peel's autobiography, Margrave of the Marshes - completed by his widow - has just been published in the UK.

The first anniversary of the legendary DJ's death is on 25 October.

"At the moment, I've no intention of doing anything with his records," she told The Music Biz programme.

John Peel's family
Peel's widow Sheila (centre) finished the book with their four children
"The records here are John and I can't imagine how we all would feel if, for whatever reason, they were suddenly removed from us. It would be just awful.

"At the moment, it makes us feel rather good that they're all here. And we play them."

But Mrs Ravenscroft added that there would come a time when the family had to give them up.

"I've got to be realistic and I know that there will be some period when we've got to say 'come on, be sensible', because there's no way we can play them all or appreciate them all. But it won't be happening yet."

Peel reportedly amassed 26,000 vinyl LPs, 40,000 singles and 40,000 CDs.

There were times when we all felt it was absolutely wonderful for us to be doing it
Sheila Ravenscroft

Mrs Ravenscroft and the couple's four children took up her husband's story in Margrave of the Marshes as Peel had only written part of it by the time he died.

The process was "rather nice and rather comforting", she said.

"There were times when we all felt it was absolutely wonderful for us to be doing it," she said.

"We were almost worried about how we were going to feel when it was finished because it was almost going to be like letting go."

But it was also "extremely upsetting" at times, she added.

'Incredibly sad'

"All it took was for one of us to stop and think seriously about what it was we were doing, and more importantly why it was we were having to do it, that we'd all get incredibly sad."

For their research, the family gave each other homework of reading diaries and old magazine articles, she said.

"Then every few weeks we'd all get back together again round the kitchen table."

The book sheds light on little-known episodes in Peel's life such as his sexual abuse at public school and his encounters with future US presidents John F Kennedy and Richard Nixon.

  • Sheila Ravenscroft can be heard on this week's edition of The Music Biz. Times differ, check the World Service website for details.

    Peel added to UK pop Hall of Fame
    26 Jul 05 |  TV and Radio
    John Peel replacement show begins
    02 Feb 05 |  TV and Radio


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