It was Friday lunchtime and Don was at Lower Smite. I was in a hurry and said "Ill tell you about it on Monday". On Sunday came the phone call telling me that Don had died of a heart attack while visiting his home town of Leicester. I never did get to tell him about the pond that I wanted him to check out
A sudden passing always leaves a void but in Dons case the void is all the larger because he was so involved in so many things. Having left the teaching profession, he was just beginning to enjoy the fruits of his decision to become a free-lance ecological consultant.
He was Chair of the newly-formed Herefordshire Amphibian and Reptile Team as well as being on the WRAG committee, he was involved in invertebrate surveys for Worcestershire Wildlife Consultancy and other clients, he was a pillar of the local community in his adopted home of Clifton on Teme; the list goes on but it cannot begin to touch the many facets of a full life. Three years in the Antarctic studying soil mites? Don did that. Leading a bible study group? Don did that. Teaching some really difficult pupils from a rough part of Kidderminster and achieving remarkably high academic standards? Yes, Don did that as well. There were so many facets to the man; whoever knew him will reveal yet another small part of the jigsaw.
Above all, his deep commitment to conservation was the driving force behind his change of career path. I have often told how the only time I ever heard him swear was at the removal of ivy from an old tree. Other memories are of staying in a less than luxurious hotel in London where, instead of moaning about the state of the room like the rest of us, Don listed the species of invertebrates to be found in his, commenting that he was disappointed not to discover cockroaches!
We are all aware of his uncanny ability to arrive at a site late and discover Nationally Notable Species within five minutes. In his sandals or his waders, with sweep net and beating tray or with his eye to a microscope he could look like the epitome of an eccentric Victorian naturalist. He was a good shot as well, part of a shooting syndicate near Martley, where he inevitably kept a list of invertebrates while filling the family freezer. Im told he was a good cook too.
Don was adamant that biological recording was essential to the core of Conservation. He was dedicated to the idea of a comprehensive County BRC and while I am sure we all agree with the sentiment behind that, it strikes me that the best way to remember him is to "carry on recording". Those who have worked alongside him will know just how much he will be missed: Those who were privileged to know him should feel honoured to have spent some time in his company. Don Goddard was truly a one-off and we may never see his like again.
Readers of Worcestershire Record will have noticed a series of articles by Don Goddard on invertebrates, especially beetles, found at various sites. This information was collected either from surveys undertaken for the Worcestershire Wildlife Trust (sometimes via its Consultancy), or from his personal observations, including records from Worcs. BRC recording days. There are many outstanding reports in his articles; perhaps some of the most interesting appeared in the last Worcestershire Record No 8 April 2000 pages 28-30. To find the coastal water beetle Enochrus bicolour in Worcestershire is remarkable as Garth Foster mentions elsewhere in this Record. Don was very interested in aquatic invertebrates and contributed a many water beetle records to the national recording scheme, in which Worcestershire was and still is poorly represented. We understand that he hoped to produce a Worcestershire annotated atlas of water beetles in the future. I hope that one day before too many years pass we can do just that in his memory - it will not be easy.
It will not be easy because competent entomologists are so thin on the ground. We badly need more of them because in conservation circles invertebrates have generally been badly neglected and, it is now realised, many insects are under far greater threats of reduction or extinction than species in many other groups. We are desperately short of baseline information on invertebrates. Don was helping to train new entomologists through courses organised by Tessa Carrick for the Trust - some of us had already attended courses by him on ladybirds and mayflies, and were looking forward to bumble bees last summer. He was not of course the only tutor (inspirational John Meiklejohn is still here to help!) but we are very short of entomological teachers. The courses will continue, following on from his efforts, and, as Alan has written above, a good catch phrase to remember Don by is indeed "carry on recording". Don believed that basic biological records were everyones property and should be available in a public domain. Biological Records Centres operate on this basis.
Don is badly missed. Our sympathy goes to his family and friends for their sad loss.
|WBRC Home||Worcs Record Listing by Issue||Worcs Record Listing by Subject|