Earl, Kevan Unknown - 1981


Kevan Earl was a 16 year old O level student at Turton High School, Bolton. He developed the software game "Backgammon" using an Acorn Computer.

Kevan had Leukaemia. He was a gifted mathematician with a strong sense of humour who liked to solve complex puzzles and enjoyed games of chance. He became interested in computing at school where he studied electronics and computer studies. He learned to write programmes and build circuits, He made and used jokes such as electronic whoopee cushions. At school he used PET computers.

This motivated him to buy and build the Acorn Kit which he researched himself. On hearing about Kevan's illness his father's colleagues at NORWEB raised some of the funds and arranged its urgent delivery (normally about 6 weeks).

Amongst several items of software purchased, his favorite was The Acorn Atom Magic Book. He was a keen chess player but was motivated to write the backgammon program because there was not a commercial one available. During this time Kevan was in and out of hospital for chemotherapy, his computer travelled with him and was an absorbing interest up until he died. After spending several weeks writing the backgammon programme, Kevan wrote to Bug Byte himself to generate their interest.

In August 1981 Colin Earl wrote to Bug Byte to report that Kevan had died, it was then that a connection with a leukaemia charity was set up. Bug Byte dealt with and paid for all the legalities and business costs. Royalties from the game were paid to the Royal Manchester Children's Hospital and the Haematology Department at Hope Hospital, Salford.