Wednesday 16 November 2011

40th Anniversary celebration

A group of Wirral Wildlife members met at Brotherton Park, Dibbinsdale on November 12th to mark the 40th anniversary of the group. Many had given 30 years or more of support.

The afternoon was dry and mild and two native Black Poplars were planted. A thousand years ago Black Poplars thrived on floodplains but it is now Britain’s rarest native timber tree. In 1993 scientists warned that this great tree could be extinct by the end of the century.To reduce this risk clones from Cheshire trees have been raised at Chester Zoo with the aim of re-establising the trees in suitable habitats. Our planting was to help to save what is becoming known as ‘The Forgotten Tree’.

Also a quince was planted in the walled garden in memory of Ray Walkup who organised valuable recording work at Dibbinsdale.

After these commemorations tea and homemade cakes were happily consumed. We are very grateful to the Rangers for enabling us to have this celebration at the park.

There is a slideshow from the afternoon on the events page of our website.

Wednesday 2 November 2011

Tribute to Eric Warner

Eric Warner who died on the 28th September at the age of 91 was a past Treasurer of the Wirral Wildlife Group. When our late Group Chairman, Graham Harrison, was looking to fill the role he knew that Eric's past experience was just what the Group needed and a little persuasion did the trick.

As a committee member Eric not only kept a sharp eye on the accounts but also set out to contribute his bit to keeping a healthy balance. He set up the distribution of the Natural World, the Grebe and our newsletter by hand across the whole of the Wirral, thus saving the postage costs. At that time the Trust, in its early days, had little money on which to run and the savings were important. To achieve his aim of 100% hand delivered Eric drew in members from all parts of the Wirral to deliver in their own locality. This system is still running thanks to the solid basis he set up and, with rising postage costs, remains an important savings.

This was not the only innovation Eric set up, nor his only contribution to fund raising. During the early more financially difficult times of the Trust Eric seized on the opportunity to organize a fund raising game. The Trust was found to have small prizes and game facilities doing nothing. Without a moments delay and a quick car journey it was all gathered up and put together to become the “Frog Dip”. With its popularity at local events, and a small charge for playing, it became a steady source of funds for the group and continues to this day.

Eric's ablity to organize came from his long experience in the printing and publishing business during which he was responsible for setting up factories and running them both at home and abroad in Africa. It was typical of his character that he took time out, during that period, to take his degree at Sheffield University, having deffered the opportunity when leaving the RAF so that he could get down to work. In the RAF during the war he trained as a pilot but failed at the last ditch for medical reasons, and saw his time out as a bomber navigator in North Africa.

Eric was a keen walker and spent many happy hours in North Wales and Cheshire, rambling the footpaths and lanes in sunshine and rain. As his strength began to lessen the distances shortened but were still enjoyed, as was the pub drink and lunch. His health began to fail over quite a long period, but his strong character and determination enabled him to face this time with great courage and with the will to remain up and doing to the last.

The Trust owes a great deal to Eric who was, over a long period, an active supporter. His legacy remains with us.

We offer our condolences to Hope, his wife of more than 60 years, and his family of children and grand children.