29 March 1939 – 19 September 2016
Hertfordshire Bird Report editor Ted Fletcher died suddenly whilst on a walking holiday in Sussex with his partner, Marilyn. This is a great shock and sadness, he had been due to set off on a birding holiday to Argentina very soon. Only a few days ago he had been in fine form, helping to pack and send out copies of The Hertfordshire Naturalist and he had sent the final text of the 2015 Bird Report to Jack Fearnside for typesetting.
Click on 'read more' to view tributes to Ted.
Through his career Ted worked in IT at Midland Bank and took an early retirement offer when he was in his 50s. As he put it ‘they made me an offer which it would have been madness to refuse’. This is when the serious birding started. He loved travelling and undertook bird watching trips every year, mostly with his friends at Limosa Holidays. He had an impressive world list, visiting many countries around the globe, but would only accept species that he could personally identify and later recall, not just ones told to him by the guides. He and Marilyn also visited New Zealand most years on combined walking and birding holidays and he had tales of finding endangered endemics on remote offshore islands.
For 30 years Ted has been making a huge contribution to the Herts Bird Club and Herts Natural History Society; he had served on the Management Committee since 1998. Ted first joined the Herts Bird Club and contributed records in 1987, by 1990 he was writing the pipits to warblers section of the systematic list for the Bird Report and in 1991 took over as Secretary to the Club. He was secretary to the Herts Rare Birds Panel from 1993 until 2013, drawing on his interest and experience of British rarities and his worldwide travel.
His major achievement was as Editor of The Hertfordshire Bird Report from 1998, ensuring a high quality report was produced every year and embracing many of the developments and changes in both the bird and publishing world. He had the great satisfaction last November of publishing the 2014 Bird Report within ten months of the end of the year. He was on target to do the same this year having completed the text for the 2015 Report on Sunday. Ted was also co-author of The Breeding Birds of Hertfordshire, published in 1993.
A true gentle man, Ted will be greatly missed by all his friends in Hertfordshire for his hard work, kindness and good humour. [Tribute by Jack Fearnside and Ken Smith]
Ted's funeral took place on Tuesday 18 October at Parndon Wood, Crematorium, Harlow CM19 4SF attended by his many friends, including colleagues from HNHS and the Bird Club.
Memories of Ted
Tim Hill – 'I'm shocked and very sad to hear of Ted's sudden passing – a great loss. I will miss his companionship at the society meetings. Whenever I see a short pencil, I'll always think of Ted.'
Agneta Burton, HNHS Chair – 'That does seem incredible – he was on such good form just ten days ago helping us with getting the mailshot out – and lots of conversation about his holidays past and future and so forth.'
Chris Beech – 'Incredibly sad, Ted achieved so much for the Bird Club. Not only a friend but a neighbour too, I will miss this mild mannered man.'
Ian Bennell - 'I only met him a dozen or so times but what a lovely man he was, always had time for a chat, RIP Ted.'
Tony Blake - 'I’m so sad to hear that Ted has died. When I joined the Bird Club, his welcome letter as secretary (his first term in the role) said: “ I look forward to meeting you very soon”. And so it proved. I spent time with him at countless committee meetings, rare bird panel sessions, and, when I was county bird recorder, in liaising over the records he needed to get the bird report written. He had such a gentle and warm manner and, of course, an infectious passion about his world birding and getting things done for the Bird Club. We’ll miss him so much.'
Peter Delaloye - Chairman Herts Bird Club: 'Ted will be greatly missed by all his friends in the Herts Bird Club. I remember Ted always as a quiet gentleman but making great contributions to the Bird Club and the Bird Club Committee. I know he was delighted last year when we caught up with the printing of the Bird Reports and of course he was on track with the production of the 2015 Herts Bird Report this year. We will all miss him.'