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Sunday, 21 July 2013

Remembering Don

It was with great sadness that I read recently of the premature & sudden death of Don Petrie from Southend, Essex. Don was a lovely man, a genuine nice guy, a great birder and he joined our Scilly team for 2 consecutive seasons a few years ago. Don was a good friend of Terry T and we, Terry T, John H, Andrew H, Ian M & I were fortunate to have the pleasure of his company on two Scilly trips. Don was a hardened Scilly regular, who had amassed a long list of ticks but was still enthusiastic on seeing the rarities. Don had also found many rarities himself too and was an excellent field birder and patch worker. Indeed, he was particularly passionate about birding around Southend and Essex and had co-founded the SOG- Southend Ornithological Group. Don, I think, worked for HM Customs & Excise and was a very intelligent man and I enjoyed the stimulating & interesting conversations we had down at the Atlantic and Bishop & Wolf pubs at Hughtown, Scilly, where I remember Don was a partial to a pint of real ale. What I also recall above all about Don, was that he was a real people person, having many friends, being very sociable & helping out those less experienced than him in birding. He also gave very handy advice where needed & generally being a very easy going, amiable person, he had a gentle humour and was liked by all and sundry. Occasionally, I was fortunate enough to bump into him in and around Lowestoft, as he was often throughout this period helping a friend out with decorating their house in the town, a real measure of the man always willing to help others. My last, fondly remembered meeting with Don, was at Breydon Water last year, when having just missed the Caspian Tern, my disappointment was quickly dispelled when I unexpectedly bumped into Don when he popped out of a car and we had a very enjoyable catch up & chat for some ten minutes. My sincere condolences go to his family, friends & loved ones. Rest in peace, Don, I'll raise my glass to you next time I have a pint of real ale.

4 comments:

Jenny said...

As the person whose house Don was decorating, I would like to say what lovely words those are.

Peter Ransome said...

Thank you Jenny, I really appreciate your comment. Don was a really nice guy and I was shocked to hear of his sudden death. It was a pleasure and a privilege to have known him.

Jenny said...

I knew him for 26 years, we lived together in Southend for 17 of those years, I have so many memories of Don which I shall treasure, not least of which occurred when we bought a front door at B and Q and drove it in my mini metro from Yarmouth to Lowestoft, Don squashed to bits underneath it in the driving seat, just about able to see the windscreen, both giggling our heads off and just hoping we didn't encounter a police car!

Peter Ransome said...

A wonderful memory. You have My deepest sympathy. It's rare for someone to be liked by everyone and it shows what a special person, Don was. I only knew him for a short time, primarily the 2 October's when Don joined the Norfolk & Suffolk Scilly bird team. but he fitted in straight away and we were sad when he was no longer able to join us. I then saw him occasionally birding around Lowestoft & Great Yarmouth over the last few years.