Pewsey man who inspired play dies, 73

This Is Wiltshire: Actor Mark Rylance, left, director Ian Rickson, centre, meet Micky Lay in his favourite local in Pewsey in 2011 Actor Mark Rylance, left, director Ian Rickson, centre, meet Micky Lay in his favourite local in Pewsey in 2011

Retired builder Micky Lay, who was the inspiration for the award-winning West End and Broadway play Jerusalem, died on Friday after collapsing in the High Street of his home village Pewsey.

Grandfather Mr Lay, 73, was taken ill at around 4pm and an ambulance was called to take him to the Great Western Hospital, Swindon.

Playwright Jez Butterworth wrote Jerusalem after meeting Mr Lay, better known locally as Micky ‘Doo’ because of his habit of saying 'I can do this' or I can do that', while he was living in Pewsey in the 1990s.

The father-of-four’s character was called Johnny 'Rooster' Byron and was played by actor Mark Rylance who was given a Tony Award for the role which he gave to Mr Lay.

As the play opened in London's West End in 2011, the cast took a journey to Pewsey to meet Mr Lay at the Moonrakers.

Landlord of the Moonrakers, Wiltshire councillor Jerry Kunkler, said he had emailed the cast to inform them of Mr Lay's death and expected many of them would attend the funeral. A date has yet to be set.

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