Sunday, March 24, 2013

Dr Mary Gillham 1921 - 2013

It is with great sadness that we announce the death of Dr Mary Gillham

Mary passed away at around 9:30 Saturday 24th March having been taken into hospital from the nursing home she had been in for the last few weeks

We all mourn the loss of such an inspirational person. I remember when in my younger days as a member of the society and clearly just a beginner when it came to things botanical I would be taken by the arm and shown plants of many different types and the insects upon them. She never failed to be able to educated and inform in a manner that was also entertaining and inspiring. I never tired of hearing her tales of adventures in Antarctica and such places and I know she enjoyed hearing all our takes of adventures during member’s evenings and the like once her travelling days were over.

I know that she was still enjoying her old travels until recently because in the last year I had to help out when her slide projector packed up and she wanted to borrow one so she could keep looking at them.

Mary contributed so much to the society over the years as president, editor and speaker and leader of so many walks, and of course as expert being able to identify so many unknown plants that were put up as pictures in many of our talks I know she will be sorely missed. If course it was not just to our society that she contributed, but to Merthyr Nats, the Wildlife trust and many other groups and  it was for these reasons she was rightly recognised in the 2008 Honours with the MBE for services to Nature Conservation in South Wales.

Mary never married, wildlife was her first love, but that did not stop her having many close friends and I know many of you also  remember Mairead Sutherland who she shared many adventures with even up into their 80’s they were exploring and causing mayhem wherever they went, of course always with e smile between them.

Her books were a feast of information and the fact she was writing and publishing them into her 90’s was simply incredible.

To those who do not know Mary as well you will find a page about her on the CNS website at on that page you will find a link to a biography and celebration some of our members prepared for her 80th Birthday party. We showed some of this again at her 90th celebration which we combined with our Christmas celebrations in 2011

Andy Kendall

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