Credit: Shutterstock/Roald Dahl

Those who don’t believe in magic will never find it

One of the best-selling authors of all time, Roald Dahl’s stories are filled with the macabre, wistful nostalgia, and an underlying hope and goodness in his main characters.

Born to Norwegian immigrant parents in Cardiff, public-school educated Roald was a fighter-pilot ace and then Intelligence Officer, during the Second World War.

As schoolboy, he and his friends would be sent boxes of chocolates to test before they were sold to the public. Young Roald dreamt of inventing his own chocolate bar that would impress Mr Cadbury himself.

This inspired his bestselling book Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, but he did not enjoy his life at boarding school, where he endured beatings from the teachers.

Perhaps it’s no coincidence that many of his stories dished out comeuppances to grownup who ill-treat children. His short stories for grownups, too, had unexpected – and often shocking – twists.

A larger than life character, Roald was known as an extremely generous and kind hearted father, grandfather, and philanthropist. When he died he was buried with his snooker cues, some good burgundy wine, chocolates, HB pencils and, for some reason, a power saw.

His daughter Lucy said: “His spirit was so large and so big he taught us to believe in magic.”