Very sadly, news arrived on 16th January 2003 that Chris Mead had died, peacefully in his sleep, concluding a remarkably full life. The UK has consequently lost a modern-day ornithological giant, one of its most powerful communicators of bird research findings to the media, an authority on bird migration, a lifelong supporter of British Birds and a good friend to many. The news came as a great shock, even to close acquaintances aware of his deteriorating health (the legacy of a severe stroke in 1994 and ongoing diabetes problems of which he made light), because the `big man’ carried an air of immortality, and had a busy lifestyle which one dared not question. Chris’s skills as an innovator, researcher, organiser and, most particularly, interpreter of bird study findings will be sorely missed in Britain, most especially in the four counties he frequented: Sussex, Cambridgeshire, Hertfordshire and Norfolk. Born on May Day 1940 at Hove, Sussex, son of a master grocer, it was from his parents’ home that elements of the fledgling Sussex Ornithological Society were founded, as his own early birdwatching promise blossomed. Typically, Chris’s education was unconventional. From Aldenham school, Hertfordshire, where again he showed flair, he went up to Peterhouse, Cambridge, to read mathematics. Here he found his twin passions, ringing birds by day and enjoying jazz after dark, too tempting. He `graduated’ with a sound appreciation of Duke Ellington and, most importantly, a permit to ring birds the latter a passport for a distinguished career
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British Birds – how it works
BB 2000 Ltd, the company that owns and publishes British Birds, is run by a board of directors, all of whom are volunteers. The company employs two full time staff – Roger Riddington is the journal’s editor while Hazel Jenner manages subscriptions and administration – and three part-time design/editorial staff.
The company is wholly owned by The British Birds Charitable Trust (BBCT, registered charity no. 1089422). Neither the company directors nor the trustees are paid for their services, providing their time and enthusiasm because they passionately believe in the value of BB. The Company is managed with a view to making a small profit which can be donated to the Trust to help fund its charitable work.
Over the past six years, this, combined with donations from other sources, has enabled the Trust to give almost £40,000 support to a variety of conservation and educational projects ranging from rat eradication on seabird islands to the study of cuckoo migration, as well as assisting young birders develop their interest.
A full list of projects is given here. The Trust is seeking to expand its charitable endeavours and would welcome donations from like-minded organisations and individuals.