This page has tributes and appreciations to volunteers and good friends of the conservation group who have died:
Patrick Murphy ( 2017 ) Frank Styles (Aug 2016), Ted Aylett (June 2015), Penny Aylett (Sep 2014), Tony Wilkinson (Mar 2012), Gwynne Johnson (Dec 2004).
An appreciation from Maurice Lillie
We are most sad to hear that Patrick has lost a long battle with his health. He had been a regular volunteer at workdays on Brook Meadow, always keen to “get stuck in” to whatever tasks were to be done. His passion for birds was ever present and the sound or sight of such would stop him in his tracks. Always quiet and modest Patrick rarely spouted his knowledge unless one asked and it was on those occasions that one discovered the depth of this knowledge. He was also a keen photographer and provided many excellent shots of birds for our records.
In the last few years we saw him less often and sadly he was not able to assist with tasks on workdays. However, when we did he come onto the meadow he was keen to know how we all were and was interested to find out what was going on. We will miss him and his smiley face and send our sincere condolences to his family.
An appreciation from Brian Fellows
I have known Patrick for several years, mainly through Brook Meadow, but also through his photos, mostly of wildlife in his garden. Patrick was a regular workday volunteer on Brook Meadow since 2008 and I have selected a few photos of him engaged in various activities.
I have been pleased to publish many of Patrick’s excellent photos on my web site. Here are just a few taken from this year, but I have dozens more on my computer.
June 2016 – Long-tailed Tits.
May 2016 – Two young Blackbirds in their nest the day before they fledged.
16 Mar 2016 – a pair of Collared Doves picking out niger seeds from the bird bath. Note the cute ditty on the bath: “The kiss of the sun for pardon. The song of the birds for mirth. He is nearest God’s heart in a garden than anywhere else on earth”. Brilliant.
15 Mar 2016 – Patrick had put out the remains of a chicken carcass assuming local Magpies and Crows would clear it up. He was pleasantly surprised when 3 Herring Gulls arrived to make short work of the chicken remains, but the poor Black-headed Gull hardly got a look in.
28 Feb 2016 – Patrick had this magnificent male Green Woodpecker in his garden this morning. A regular visitor – lucky chap. It spent about half an hour aerating the lawn probing with its large beak searching for ants and insects.
10 Jan 2016 – Coal Tit. 6 Jan 2016 – Song Thrush
Thanks to Brenda, his wife for the following information. Patrick was 74. He was born in North London 22nd March 1942. He married Brenda in 1967 and they moved to Emsworth with their young son, Neal, 38 years ago. They have two grandchildren Erin and Amy aged 8 and 6.
Patrick passed away on Sunday 23 October. The funeral is on Monday 7th November at the Oaks Crematorium Havant at 1pm.
Please note: there will be a celebration of Frank’s life at the Kings Arms in Emsworth on Sunday 2nd October from 12 – 3 pm.
An appreciation by Maurice Lillie . . . Photos by Brian Fellows
It is with great sadness that we have heard that Frank Styles, one of our conservation volunteers, died in late August 2016. Frank was a volunteer for several years and was a regular attendant at our Sunday and Thursday work sessions on Brook Meadow.
Frank’s last work session on Brook Meadow was on Aug 7, 2016.
We don’t have photos of him on that occasion.
However, here he is third from the right with other volunteers
at the start of a work session on July 3.
Frank with the workday group on 1 June
Here is a rare sight of Frank taking coffee break on 1 March 2015
He was usually working in remote corners of the site and did not hear the whistle
He was always a lovely, reliable, happy and gentle man. From his first appearance on the Meadow, Frank always did the same task, litter picking, which he did meticulously.
Frank working away with his litter picker on the meadow – 16 June 2016
Hawk-eyed, if even the smallest piece of litter lurked unseen to the casual passer by, Frank’s litter picker would pounce on it.
Here is Frank working with Lesley near the south gate on 18 April 2013
Clearing round Palmer’s Road Car Park – 19 Mar 2014
Clearing up the lads encampment – 3 Aug 2014
Helping Jennifer with litter in the undergrowth – 1 Nov 2015
We last saw him at our annual skittles evening at The Barley Mow, in Walderton. His unique style, which one might call, the Frank style, was remarkable. There was no knowing where the ball would travel on its way to the skittles. His master shot was remarkable; somehow making the heavy rubber ball leave the alley floor climbing the side and running along the top of the low wall before dropping just short of the head of skittles and still having just enough kinetic energy to knock over not just one or two but every skittle. The roar of disbelief echoed around the room.
Dear Frank, we will miss you and thank you for helping to keep Brook Meadow the lovely haven of calm and delight, enjoyed by so many people.
A memory from Gordon Braddock
At the pub quiz I attended at The Kings Arms on Monday evening it was announced that Frank had passed away. He was well known there as was his late dog, Arris who left an occasional deposit on the carpet! Frank was a fun character who used to shout out answers to quiz questions to his team which unfortunately other teams heard too.
In his memory four questions were compiled with answers involving the word FRANK. Competitors were encouraged to shout out the answers and every team got all four correct!
An appreciation by Brian Fellows
Ted Aylett, a very good friend of the Brook Meadow Conservation Group since the beginning of the group in Year 2000, died in early June 2015. Sadly, his wife Penny also died in early September 2014. A tribute to Penny follows Ted’s.
Ted had moved away to Yorkshire to be near his daughter following the death of his wife Penny in September last year, but he was in poor health. Ted and Penny Aylett were both founder members of the Brook Meadow Conservation Group in the year 2000 and held the inaugural meeting of the group at their house in The Rookery on 24th August 2000. Most of the our committee meetings for the next 3 years or so were held at their house and Ted and Penny were such generous hosts. Ted also acted as the group’s publicity officer for a time. Despite his increasing ill health and loss of sight Ted continued to take an active interest in Brook Meadow, attending work sessions in the early days.
The funeral took place at The Oaks (Havant Crematorium) in Barton’s Road on 16th June at 11.30. Penny also had her funeral there on September 19th 2014.
An early workday group in December 2000 with Ted Aylett prominent on the left.
Others from the left Tony Wilkinson (deceased), Viv Harding, Brian Fellows,
Penny Aylett (deceased), Alison (BTCV) and Frances Jannaway.
Here is an occasion I recall well at Christmas 2013 when Ted and I shared a glass of wine together at his home in The Rookery. Wounded warriors!
An appreciation from Frances Jannaway
I have known Ted (born Edgar Francis) Aylett for the last 15 years when we set up the Brook Meadow Conservation Group under the inspired guidance of Brian Fellows in 2000 together with Tony Wilkinson and Fred Portwin.
In the early days, Ted was involved in lots of the hard work clearing the meadow of trailers, rolls of barbed wire and other articles which had been dumped there. Unfortunately he developed a whole raft of serious health conditions and was no longer able to be an active member of the group. Nevertheless, he always remained interested and cheerful and looked forward to our visits to collect tools from his and Penny’s garage, which incidentally was also a very good wine cellar.
Ted particularly enjoyed the Christmas get togethers after the last work session for the year and was a very good host. I will always remember Ted’s chuckle, especially after he’d told a joke! When I was writing the book about the history of Brook Meadow, Ted was an amazing source of information and had enumerable stories about what went on in Brook Meadow before the group got involved! A fond farewell to a very lovely man.
PS Ted’s stories can be seen in ‘Brook Meadow Through the Ages’ by Frances. Contact Jennifer Rye for a copy.
The group were all very saddened to hear that our good friend Penny died in early September 2014. We knew that she had been seriously ill for some time, but nevertheless her death comes as a shock to us all. Penny and her husband Ted were founder members of the conservation group, and she was an active member of work parties until quite recently. She was always good humoured, fun to be with, making little of her own health issues, and devoting herself to caring for Ted. As recently as last Christmas, she continued with a lovely practice of serving mulled wine and mince pies at her house in The Rookery to all the workers on the workday nearest to Christmas. For this, and for so much else, we shall miss her enormously. I am sure all members will join in sending sincere sympathy to Ted, and to their daughter Alison. The funeral was on Friday September 19th at 11.30 at the Havant Crematorium.
Here are some tributes and memories of Penny from fellow members of the Brook Meadow Conservation Group.
from Brian Fellows
Like everyone else I was deeply saddened to hear about the death of Penny, though I realise she had been very ill. But amazingly, she was always cheerful whenever I met her walking through the meadow on her way to the shops. I shall miss these little meetings when Penny was always keen to talk about wildlife in her garden. I shall also miss my Monday ritual of taking round a printed version of the e-mail newsletter which she and Ted always appreciated, as they never got around to e-mails. I gather she also shared the news with her neighbours. PS I shall continue the tradition until Ted moves. The inaugural meeting to establish the Brook Meadow Conservation Group on 24th August 2000 was held in Ted and Penny’s house – that was a momentous occasion and the start of something that has grown and lasted! Most of the committee meetings for the next 3 years or so were also held there and Ted and Penny were such generous hosts. Ted acted as our publicity officer for a time.
This is most people’s image of Penny, always smiling – December 2007
from Gaynor Wells
I was saddened to hear of the death of Penny Aylett recently. When I first joined the Brook Meadow group of volunteers I remember how welcoming she was, chatty, friendly and easy to talk to. I also have happy memories of the Christmas get togethers at her house with delicious nibbles and mulled wine and above all, an extremely warm welcome from both Penny and Ted. She will be missed enormously by all who knew her.
from Lesley Harris
Brook Meadow volunteers always ‘knocked off’ early from the December Work Party, eager to get along to Penny & Ted’s house for the annual mulled wine and mince pie party. A wonderful smell emanated from the kitchen oven and stove and Penny wickedly laced the hot punch with a few drops of brandy. If it was cold we all crowded into the ‘snug’ next to the kitchen, some sitting on the floor, but if it was a warm sunny day we wafted with our wine glasses in Penny’s lovely garden. The wine and platefuls of hot mince pies were most generously provided by Penny and Ted.
from Frances Jannaway
I was very saddened to hear of Penny’s death. I have known Penny since 2000 when the Brook Meadow Conservation Group was set up. In fact the inaugural meeting was in Ted and Penny’s living room. Penny had a very down to earth attitude to life which she lived to the full. She rarely complained but just got on with it. Penny was a staunch supporter of Brook Meadow Conservation Group, especially the work sessions and public events. She rarely missed a work session and then only when her eyes were streaming with hay fever. Penny always contributed wholeheartedly to all Brook Meadow public events and even made a special diabetic cake which she sold to one of the visiting councillors (it may even have been the mayor) who was also diabetic. She also made her toilet available to children who were visiting the meadow. Ted and Penny’s memories of Brook Meadow were an essential part of the book, ‘Brook Meadow Through the Ages’, I wrote in 2010 to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the group.
Penny’s garden was and is amazing – a riot of colour with lemon, lime and cherry trees, tomatoes, peppers, and countless flowers to name but a few. Her laugh was very infectious and she had a great sense of humour with a touch of irony. Penny was the epitome of a good person and was always willing to help if she could. Penny is an inspiration to us all. She will be sorely missed.
Photos of Penny working on Brook Meadow
roughly in chronological sequence
Penny got stuck in right from the very start of the conservation project – Nov 2000
Here she is chopping away at brambles with Tony Wilkinson – Dec 2000
Penny having a welcome cuppa with other volunteers – Dec 2000
Left to right: Ted Aylett, Tony Wilkinson, Viv Harding, Brian Fellows,
Penny, Alison Aylett (BTCV), Frances Jannaway
The conservation group were the proud owners of a new power scythe – June 2001
Penny helping to clear the jungle of Great Willowherb on Brook Meadow – June 2001
Penny and Jill Meesom raking up the cuttings – Aug 2003
Penny doing some clearance work with Pat and Graham Walsgrove – Oct 2004
Penny helping to distribute the gravel for a major repair of the paths – March 2005
Penny and Pam dragging a heavy bag of cuttings – December 2006
Digging out brambles is a constant task on the meadow – December 2008
Penny and Lesley relaxing in the sunshine with a cup of coffee – October 2008
Penny and Pam emptying a bag of cuttings – November 2008
Penny cleaning the interpretation board – October 2009
Penny walking to the shops through the snow on Brook Meadow – February 2010
Penny, ever smiling, pruning the Weeping Willow tree – June 2012
An appreciation by Brian Fellows
Tony Wilkinson died on March 22nd 2012. Tony was an active member of the Brook Meadow Conservation Group committee for most of the period that I was Chairman. He was there from the start of the conservation project in August 2000 until 2005 and played an important part in its development and subsequent achievements. I recall Tony was particularly active in trying to get Charitable Status for the group, a venture which eventually failed, though through no fault of his.
Tony was also a regular volunteer during workdays and always threw himself into whatever he was asked to do with enthusiastic gusto. I have fished out some photos from my files which show Tony happy at his work. I have lots of memories of Tony over the years, but what came through most was his ever cheerful and friendly personality. I shall miss his cheery ‘Hallo, Brian’ when we met in the village. Thanks for everything, Tony.
Tony tackling a pile of Brambles in the early days of Brook Meadow
Tony loved to stop for a chat
Tony particularly liked haymaking on the meadow
Tony gives Wally some help with grass clearance
Tony clearing some jungle growth in high summer
Kids these days never finish their drinks
Off to work we go . . .
Keeping the meadow tidy was Tony’s pride
You never know what you might find
Tony with other volunteers assembled for a work session. Second from the left
A personal appreciation by Brian Fellows
Gwynne Johnson died on Sunday 12th December, 2004. She had been ill for a long time with cancer. Gwynne was well known as an expert and very enthusiastic amateur naturalist. With her husband, Nigel, she was very active in the Hampshire Wildlife Trust and carried out many botanical surveys. She and Nigel also devoted a great deal of love and attention to creating a wonderful garden at their home in Soberton. I so recall those lovely walks around their garden. But Gwynne was much more than a naturalist, she was also a warm and generous human being and a great friend to many. Gwynne also loved coming over to Brook Meadow mainly to look at our grasses and sedges which she loved.
Gwynne loved her grasses and inspired me to love them too!
I knew Gwynne mainly through the Havant Wildlife Group, when we met on Monday evenings for talks and discussions and on Saturday mornings for walks in the local countryside. We shall all miss her greatly, for her immense kindness and her ever willingness to help on all things to do with nature. But plants were her love and speciality, and not just pretty wild flowers, for Gwynne was also keen for us all to appreciate the less glamorous aspects of the botanical world, namely, grasses, sedges, rushes and even mosses. We all loved her so much. Personally, I have learned more about plants from Gwynne than any other person. Gwynne was a joy to walk with and, I must admit, I frequently hogged her attention when out on walks, though I am sure I am not the only one to do this.
Gwynne and Nigel with other members of the group
at Northney, Hayling Island – 24.5.03
Gwynne came over to Brook Meadow on several occasions to help find and identify difficult plants. She made a number of contributions to our plant list including Whorl-grass, Green-ribbed Sedge and Marsh and Sea Arrowgrass, which continue to escape me on Brook Meadow. But I know they are there because Gwynne found them.
Rowan Plantation in memory of Gwynne
The Havant Wildlife Group donated 15 Rowan saplings to be planted on Brook Meadow in memory of Gwynne. They were planted by the Conservation Group in an open area on the east side of the north meadow in April 2005. However, some of them had to be replaced (suitably protected by plastic tubes) after the small trees were nibbled by browsing deer. Gwynne would have been amused! A total of 20 trees were finally planted.
Here is the plantation in its early stages in May 2005
The plantation has grown very well and all 20 trees are in good health and producing a fine crop of berries every year. Here are some in in August 2016.