Sunday, 21 July 2013
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.