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Last Updated: Thursday, 19 June, 2003, 06:44 GMT 07:44 UK
Row over fictional twin town
Road sign in Wincanton
Further signs will not be allowed
A Somerset town with a fictional twin city has been banned from putting its mythical links on road signs.

Wincanton was twinned with Ankh-Morpork from the bestselling Discworld novels by Terry Pratchett last year.

More than 1,000 residents and Pratchett fans - many in fancy dress - gathered to take part in the twinning ceremony.

But other Discworld readers may never know about Wincanton's special status after plans to put up signs promoting the link were blocked by the government.

Fans upset

Somerset County Council wanted Ankh-Morpork added to the signs but Whitehall refused, saying twin towns had to actually exist.

Only one sign advertising the town's official ties with places in France and Germany remains, with a stuck-on notice publicising the literary link.

Bernard Pearson
It is po-faced and sad, and means many potential visitors will bypass the town.
Bernard Pearson

The ban has upset local fans of the Discworld books.

Bernard Pearson, the owner of the shop The Cunning Artificer - which doubles as the Ankh-Morpork consulate - is not impressed.

He said: "It is po-faced and sad - there are 29 to 30 million readers of Terry's books, many of whom are bound to drive along the A303 because they've been visiting Stonehenge or are visiting the West Country.

"And yet they are going to bypass the one place, the only place in the universe, where everything Terry has written about is represented or can be found."

And the creator of Discworld - and everything in it - author Terry Pratchett is equally puzzled.

He said: "All it is a bit of fun, it is done in order to lighten things up a bit and it seems rather strange that something like this is not permissible."

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