First, Peter Wilson, the originator of AWE, wants to thank all the students over the years who have taught me. It is developing answers to their questions that has given me the material for this database, and the titles of many articles are derived from the 'little black book' in which I jotted down what they said.
If my students have taught me, through my experience of them, my own teachers gave me the formal bedrock on which this whole edifice is raised. I cannot list them all; I cannot remember the names of some, from my primary education; I do not know who taught me to read - but it is to her that I owe my whole career. I thank all those who did me good; and I guess that even those that I did not esteem did me good. Perhaps one teacher from my secondary phase may stand in a special place as representative of all: David Alban, of Sedbergh School, got me through my degree, has been an ongoing inspiration to me, and, in an off-hand way of putting a bumptious schoolboy in his place, even gave me the ambition which has led to this work.
Some 'official' formal acknowledgements must be made. To say it like that should not diminish the very real gratitude I feel to those who showed their belief in this project by supporting my stumbling efforts towards it. The University of Hull gave me a Teaching Fellowship from 2005 to 2007. This gave me more status than I had ever felt - along with a welcome sum of money (my first 'research grant' ever). Various managers within the University have supported me - Carolyn Rhodes was the first who listened to me; Katy Barnett, Simon Atkinson and Marina Mozzon-MacPherson have been most closely involved with the project.
All writers of reference works shamelessly visit and re-visit other reference books. It is a distinguishing feature of the genre that it is virtually all secondary research. And so I owe thanks to all the works I have ever consulted, from my primary school lists of spellings and copybooks onwards. In my 67 years, I have forgotten the names of most of them. Those I am conscious of having used in the last 12 years are listed in the bibliography of the current work. I offer thanks to these - again, as the named representatives of all. I also offer my forgiveness to their editors when they read my work and think "I can do better than that!" or "Ooh! I hadn't thought of THAT: I must cover it in my article on ..." - because of course they will only be doing what I have done.
All writers of reference works also owe much to other people. I have imposed on friends, colleagues and acquaintances remorselessly. Perhaps my immediate family may represent all of them in the thanks I offer - and asking for their forgiveness. They have had to cope with the distractedness of the writer of this for years. Even before then, Tristan, Henrietta, Flora and Lydia Wilson have had to put up with having an English teacher and pedant as their father for all their lives. Their mother, Stephanie Wilson, has had to bear the pain even longer. I owe her more than I can tell.