This page has tributes and appreciations to volunteers and good friends of the conservation group who have died:
Ralph Hollins (2021), Clive Yeomans (2020), Elisabeth Kinloch (2019),
Patrick Murphy ( 2017 ) Frank Styles (Aug 2016), Ted Aylett (June 2015),
Penny Aylett (Sep 2014), Tony Wilkinson (Mar 2012), Gwynne Johnson (Dec 2004).
RALPH HOLLINS 1931-2021
‘Whatever your problems or mood let wildlife brighten your day’
The news that Ralph had died aged 90 was very sad, but not totally unexpected. He had been poorly and had moved away from our local area in 2019 to live near his son in Castle Douglas, Scotland. Since then he had been largely out of touch apart from an occasional e-mail in which he told me about the birds, plants and various other wildlife he had discovered around his new home. My last communication from Ralph was on 1st August 2020 in which he said he had started to build a record of the wildlife of the Carlingwark Loch area – sadly never completed. Meanwhile, Ralph still had time to read and pick issues with my daily wildlife blog which he has done regularly over the years. He could be stern critic, but I truly valued and learned from his criticisms. Ralph, I do miss you
A remembrance service for Ralph Hollins took place at St Faith’s Church Havant at 11am on Friday 20th August 2021. His ashes were interred at Warblington Cemetery (extension) in his wife’s grave.
Ralph was an extraordinary and wide ranging amateur naturalist who kept comprehensive and daily records of wildlife in Havant and surrounding area and made them available through his website and nature notes. He was unique and we were very privileged to have him in our locality.
I have saved all Ralph’s ‘Nature Notes’ from 1997 to 2018 which are a wonderful treasure trove of observations, thoughts, opinions, etc. I thought it would be useful to publish these notes as an archive and a true memorial to Ralph’s passion for nature. These notes disappeared when his own web site closed down. See below for links to these diaries as pdf files.
On a personal level Ralph was my wildlife mentor and guru, as he was I am sure to many others. I retired from my job in 1997 and was very lucky to meet Ralph to whom I owe much of my interest in local wildlife and development as a local naturalist. He was a good teacher and convinced me of the value of communicating knowledge to others. This led to me starting starting my own nature notes focussing on Emsworth. Ralph was a devoted local patch naturalist and had an unparalleled knowledge of the wildlife in and around his home town of Havant. His range covered all aspects of wildlife, birds, plants, insects, mammals, etc.
I first met Ralph through the Havant Wildlife Group which he set up in 1995 with meetings on Monday evenings and nature walks on Saturday mornings, both run by him. In 1997 Ralph retired from the group, but we all carried on under our own steam. It is a testament to Ralph’s vision that the Saturday walks group is still active some 24 years later. We all owe Ralph a deep debt of gratitude for opening our eyes to this wonderful world all around us.
I have kept up a special page on my web site for the Havant Wildlife Group (renamed Friends of Wildlife) and on it there is a brief history of the group featuring Ralph.
See . . http://familyfellows.com/hwg-index.htm
I don’t have many photos of Ralph but here is one I particularly like of him explaining some plant identification to Ros and Caroline during a Saturday morning walk in Bridge Road Emsworth in 2007.
Ralph was always interested in my conservation work on Brook Meadow in Emsworth and gave me lots of encouragement. He made many visits the meadow over the years, particularly to study the great variety of plants that grow here. He was a great help in identifying stuff and made significant contributions to our plant records. I only have one photo of Ralph on the meadow – taken during a visit he made with John Norton and Eric Clements, two top Hampshire botanists on 4th June 2012. I think that was when John discovered the Slender Spike-rush.
Here are some more photos I have of Ralph (he was never keen to be snapped).
This one shows Ralph at the site of the female Butterbur and Giant Butterbur plants on the Langbrook Stream on 17 March 2003. Are they still there I wonder?
On the same occasion here’s Ralph examining the first Blackthorn flowers of the year. Ralph was insistent that we should not mix up Blackthorn with Cherry Plum, which always comes out first.
On 22 Sept 2006 I had a phone message from Ralph Hollins to say he had found a plant in Havant that he had never seen before and was not able to identify. He asked me if I would care to go over with him to look at it and take a photo which could be sent to Martin Rand for identification. Here’s Ralph with the plant which I think turned out to be Perennial Ragweed. I don’t recall having seen this plant ever again.
Ralph always insisted that you don’t have to go to nature reserves to see nature – it was all around you! In fact, Ralph was never all that keen on nature reserves. He admired plants growing in the wild! In line with this Ralph specially praised plants that grow on pavements and his diaries are littered with records of the plants he discovered while walking around his home town. Ralph has instilled the same interest in me which most people find very odd.
As might be expected Ralph did not have much time for twitching. However, I vividly recall his discovery of a very rare bird called Lesser Sand Plover at Church Norton in August 1997 – a first for Great Britain. Ralph’s discovery attracted twitchers from miles around including the famous Lee Evans. Most birders thought it was a Greater Sand Plover, but Ralph stuck to his guns and was eventually provided correct when the true identify of the bird was established from photos.
Here are some other appreciations I have received from other naturalists who knew the great man.
From Anne de Potier
Ralph used to say ‘let wildlife brighten your day’. He was the person who made that possible for so many in our area. He freely shared his knowledge, which was broad and deep, and full of the kind of detail that made facts memorable. He explained points of identification clearly and wrote in a lively, accessible way. His mission was to help as many people as possible know more about local wildlife, and to use facts and data to protect and improve our environment. I think I first met him when he started the Havant, Hayling and Emsworth Wildlife group (still going under a different name). As well as guided walks etc there was practical action – I like many others still remember counting and moving orchids at Southmoor. Later he joined the team as a counter for the wildfowl and wader counts in Chichester Harbour, and contributed very helpfully to the development of the methodology for the pioneering low and mid tide counts. This was where his experience and clarity of expression contributed exceptionally. He was meticulous in all his recording. His daily website diary and weekly Nature Notes were a ‘go-to resource’, and if anyone ever wanted to find something out or check a fact it was always ‘ask Ralph, he will know’. He was kind, patient and generous, and the results of his efforts can be seen and enjoyed now in people enthused and habitats safeguarded.
It was when first attending a Wildlife class in Staunton school on a Monday evening that Ralph started that we met . He did not remain long but left it open for us to gain knowledge for ourselves and make weekly visits to all the wonderful wildlife spots in our area. We joined Ralph on one walk around Broadmarsh on a very cold, wet day and his enthusiasm never waned. I remember many times seeing him on his bicycle and the last time we met a few years ago now, whilst out and about, he had recently fallen off!! We had a lovely re-union at Nigel Johnson’s birthday celebrations, again a few years back.His knowledge of every aspect of wildlife was second to none. You could ask him anything and he would respond. He will be greatly missed by so many who had made contact with him after discovering his wildlife notes.
As one of the original members of Ralph’s Havant Wildlife Group, I’d like to say how much I appreciated being introduced to the wonderful world of wildlife by this extraordinarily knowledgeable man. The fact our group is still existing, twenty three years after its conception, says a great deal for the enthusiasm Ralph instilled into us. He opened our eyes to the world around us and encouraged us to observe and learn.
I knew Ralph Hollins from the 1970s when I joined the Hampshire Wildlife Trust. He led the local walks which I regularly attended. His wide knowledge of wildlife species was exceptional and I learned a lot from his walks and nature diaries for which I am very grateful.
Sad news about Ralph, he always had time for me, even when he was whizzing by on the bike. I didn’t know him well, but he’d seek me out if he saw me. I think with him producing his Havant Notes that was an important step for Hampshire Wildlife, it got away from the usual twitching accounts that so many blogs adopt, and concentrated on what people could see locally and he’d give an explanation. Sometime that’s all you need, by increasing awareness of nature he promoted not only his love of species but passed on his knowledge to others.
I have just been told that Ralph Hollins has died having recently reached 90. Ralph was important and enthusiastic recorder of wildlife. He was a prominent member of HIWWT in Havant. He led the Havant, Hayling and Emsworth local group for many years in the 1980’s and 1990’s and ran the Havant Watch Group.
Ralph was an extraordinary polymath who kept extensive records of wildlife in the Havant area and made them available through his website and nature notes. Many local people were inspired by Ralph’s love of nature. A sad loss.
He wrote a blog before blogs, and it was always the best, full of intricate observations, questioning, love of nature, and illustrated how much of the natural world there is just in a local patch.
Very sad news. I saw a lot of Ralph when working on Hayling in the 1990’s always enthusiastic, a real ‘gentleman naturalist’ but with a modern twist.
That is such sad news. I had the pleasure of working with Ralph at IBM and took part in some of his 24 hour bird treks round Hampshire usually in the rain. I suspect I won’t be the only person to credit so much of their knowledge to him. A great loss.
Very sorry to hear that. I first knew Ralph when I joined IBM in Havant in late 1969 where he was a legend to us computer newbies. It was always interesting browsing his nature notes and occasionally bumping into him out on walks, notably when the extremely rare Red Helleborine was rediscovered at a Hampshire location, doubtless to the envy of the county’s senior botanists! He’ll be missed.
I can still see Ralph striding across Farlington on his long legs. He, personally and via his pupil, Kevin Stouse taught me to love birds. All those orchids he planted were also a joy. Thank you Ralph.
Ralph Hollins – Wildlife Diaries 1997 to 2018
Hollins 2018 . . Read this one for Ralph’s final diary entry!
An appreciation from Brian Fellows
23 December 2020 – I have just heard the very sad news about the death of Clive Yeomans – he was an Emsworth institution! His ‘Hole-in-the-Wall’ pottery was truly famous and I do hope it continues in his absence. I have lots of his pots around the house. Clive taught my daughter Mary how to make to make pots and provided her with a good foundation for a subsequent career in ceramics. I am so pleased he managed to complete his book on the history of the pottery. Here’s a photo of the Clive’s pottery I got this afternoon.
Clive was a man of nature and, as such, always interested in Brook Meadow. Whenever I met him we always got around to talking about the meadow and its wildlife. He was delighted to see the success of the conservation project. My only photo of Clive is of him delivering Slow-worms to Brook Meadow in 2007. A lovely man and greatly missed.
An appreciation from Brian Fellows
Elisabeth Kinloch died over the 2019 Christmas period aged 97 years! She had been ill with dementia for many years during which she had been cared for at her home in Westbourne. Elisabeth was the owner of Peter Pond, a nature reserve close to Brook Meadow, which has been carefully managed on her behalf by David Gattrell for the past 30 years and more. I cannot speak too highly of the work and dedication of David in maintaining the pond as a healthy and attractive natural resource and we all fervently hope that this good work will be continued.
Peter Pond looking north towards Gooseberry Cottage
Here is a nice photo I got of Elisabeth and David together on the pond in December 2008 before her illness. At the time, I recall Elisabeth used to join David to clear litter from around the pond.
I have happy memories of visiting Elisabeth at her home in Westbourne in Year 2000 to assist her with the design of the Peter Pond interpretation board into which she devoted a great deal of time and effort. The board was illustrated by local wildlife artist Marian Forster and installed on 17 March 2000. Here is a photo I took of the ceremony toasted with Champagne! Elisabeth is on the far left of the photo, which also shows David Gattrell (3rd from the left) and Marian Forster (2nd from the right). Sadly, the board was vandalised many years ago and never replaced.
Elisabeth was also a important and active member of the committee of the Brook Meadow Conservation Group in the early days of the group when I was Chairman We held several committee meetings in Elisabeth’s house in Westbourne for which she was always an excellent host. Here is a photo of one such meeting in October 2004. Around the table from left to right are Pat Walsgrove, Graham Walsgrove, David Search, Brian Fellows, Wally Osborne, Elisabeth Kinloch, and Frances Jannaway.
I am not sure if that was the meeting when Elisabeth cracked open a bottle of whisky, but I do recall vividly my rather tiddly walk through the fields back to my home in Westbourne Avenue.
I should add that during her career Elisabeth was a distinguished architect and designed the present Emsworth Surgery where there is a plaque in the waiting room indicating this.
Elisabeth’s funeral took place on Friday 31 Jan 2020 at Warblington Church at 12 noon and afterwards at Tuppenny Barn. Pam Phillips, Jennifer Rye and Brian Fellows were present, representing the Brook Meadow Conservation Group of which Elisabeth was an important member in the early years of its development. Verity Ingram from Gooseberry Cottage adjacent to Peter Pond was also present. It was good to meet up with David Gattrell and his daughter Emma. David has managed Peter Pond on Elisabeth’s behalf for the past 30 years or so and we trust this arrangement will continue.
In Lieu of flowers the family have set up a fund to plant trees at Peter Pond in Elisabeth’s memory. David tells me they are likely to be disease resistant Elms in the copse to the north of the pond where there is already an abundant growth of young Elm suckers which sadly never grow to maturity due to Dutch Elm Disease.
If you wish to donate go to . . . http://www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/elisabeth-kinloch
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.