Don Green (3rd Dec 1936 – 12th Nov 2017)
Photograph of Don Green

The sad death of Don Green has robbed the Bedfordshire Natural History Society of one of its longest serving members, but more importantly it is the passing of a giant of the Society. Don has been so involved in service and leadership over his 53 years of membership.

Don joined the BNHS in 1964 and within two years was elected onto the Society Council, a position he continued to hold right up to his death.

In 1978 Don was elected as Society Chairman, which he held for seven years up to 1984. Since the formation of The Bird Club in 1992, right up to 2017, Don held the position of Meetings Secretary and was its President from 2011 to 2013 and Vice President from 2017.

In 1999 Don and his wife Maureen were awarded Honorary Life membership of the Society and the Bird Club and I can do no better than to repeat the announcement that John Adams wrote for the 1999 Journal: -

“Council this year were pleased to award Don and Maureen Green Honorary Life membership of the Society. This award is given in recognition of their outstanding contribution to the Society over many years. Since they joined the Society in 1964 Don has served as an Honorary Officer in almost every capacity possible.

  • Honorary Secretary 1969 – 1975
  • Honorary Chairman 1978 – 1984
  • Chairman of the Programme Committee 1985 – 1993
  • Council Member 1966 – present

I have been privileged to know Don for many years and to have worked on a variety of committees with him, where his quiet humour and calm logic has helped us through many intricate discussions. Don is blessed with immense common sense and experience that are invaluable to our Society. He was instrumental in the steering committee which led to the creation of the Bird Club which today is such an outstanding success.

In recent times Don has produced the Bird Club Programme where quality and variety has led to consistently high attendances. As meeting projectionist Don and Maureen have struggled through many a winter’s night to shed light on the screen. Truly a man and woman for all seasons.

Congratulations to you both.”

The Natural History Society is truly indebted to Don for the healthy condition that both the Natural History Society and the Bird Club are in today. In so many ways Don’s contribution has been enormous and he will be sorely missed.

As part of the Natural History Programme and sometimes as a loose group of BNHS Members, Don arranged and led many week and weekend trips, some in the UK and some further afield. Some were small groups of three or four, some times as large as 20 or more participants. The annual Solway winter trip to see the geese before they fly back north has allowed, over the years, a large number of people to ‘enjoy’ this spectacle. The many cold morning and evening cliff top watches are etched in my memory. In fact he did have plans for a 2018 trip, but sadly that did not get off the ground. A trip three of us took years ago and again at the end of winter, so in cold weather, was to a then unknown reservoir south of Paris to see the Cranes on their migration back north. It was a typically well researched and adventurous idea, even though it did mean staying at a very basic village bar. Only Don would be brave enough to think it was possible and he proved himself right. Many others in the BNHS followed in later years, by then with much improved accommodation and a known itinerary. Warmer trips to the south of France, Spain and Majorca were less taxing. They were great fun and many in the BNHS will recall them with fond memories.

By an odd act of fate, perhaps Don’s greatest and final achievement was the Bird Club’s 25 year anniversary meeting in September this year, with the celebrity TV Naturalist Iolo Williams. Apart from coming up with the suggestion for such a meeting, he proposed the speaker, contacted him and negotiated a significantly reduced fee. The meeting was a resounding success with an attendance of well over a 100 people enjoying a great evening. Don was of the opinion that he was not well enough to attend himself, but the lure of the event got to him, so I drove him and Maureen to the meeting with the understanding that we would return home at the end, but would you believe it, he changed the plan to include a visit to the post meeting Pub gathering. That final event, organised largely by Don, is a fitting tribute to his spirit and character.

I am sure we all mourn his going, I know I do.

Thank you Don for so many years of service and friendship.

David Anderson