Funeral of Dave Witherspoon - 29th Jan 2024

Funeral of Dave Witherspoon

 

The funeral of Dave Witherspoon, the WKBG’s President, is at 1pm on Monday 29th January in St Mary’s Church in Downe (25 High St BR6 7US). Following the service there is a wake at the village hall which is opposite the church. We are grateful that the WKBG will be one of the beneficiaries of donations given in Dave’s memory.

Dave Witherspoon

Dave Witherspoon

 

Our WKBG President, Dave Witherspoon, died suddenly on 7th December. He was 87 and although no longer able to be actively involved in rescues and events any more, he was still an enthusiastic participant in the group. In fact he participated in our Zoom committee meeting on 5th December, providing encouragement and offering that special smile of approval when we discussed some of the current activities within the group. We are all devastated and our thoughts are with his wife of 57 years, Dorothy, and their sons and families.

Dave has been a key member of the WKBG for 30 years and most of us who are actively involved now, not to mention those who were committee members and volunteers in the past, learnt so much from Dave. Many of you will have attended one of his training mornings which were so informative and also good fun. I know Dave prepared in a meticulous way for these sessions as he cared for badgers and wildlife so much that he wanted to ensure that all of us would be properly prepared for any work we took on following the training.

As well as training us, Dave took on numerous work examining planning applications and  - often with Dorothy - he would make site visits and his reports and recommendations were always thorough and well balanced. He built up an excellent rapport with the Met police and with Bromley council and we are now still benefitting from those good working relationships that he built up.

Dave was a thoroughly decent, kind and caring human being. He was incredibly knowledgeable about badgers and their way of life and we are all thankful and grateful to have had the privilege of spending time with him.

We publish below, the words of our committee member, Darren Russell, who runs the Bromley Badgers media page and who has taken on the role of Field Officer in Bromley following Dave's retirement a few years ago:

It's with a heavy heart that I have to announce that last week we lost a true Badger Champion and a great mentor to me personally and to many others.

Dave Witherspoon, Bromley Field Officer for over 25 years and our first ever President, was a dedicated member of the West Kent Badger Group for over 30 years and has left a big hole in our hearts.

For those that knew him really well, he was Dave. Our 'go to' for any Badger Advice, rescues, information and the first person I called 10 years ago when a local sett was attacked.

For other Bromley nature loving folk, he was just known as the Badger Guy. A term he was very fond of.

I'd got to know Dave back in 2010, when he attended a Spring Walk for a local Friends group I was social secretary for. He gave a brilliant talk n walk pointing out Badger setts and explaining how badgers life their lives. It was the sett attack in 2013 that I really began to gain a complete interest in Badgers and I started to really take in what Dave was telling myself and others. He would give numerous talks to all ages, young and old, gained a great connection with Bromley Council, and was an inspiration to loads especially a few of my other Ranger colleagues.

After hanging up his boots back in 2020, I was absolutely delighted when he suggested that I should take his role as Bromley Field Officer and it was an honour to accept. His words are still repeated when I give talks and deliver presentations. Since then he had been our consultant in anyway to the West Kent Field Officers, our planning investigation Officer and finally our first ever President.

All of us at WKBG, Bromley Friend's Groups, LBB Staff, and all local nature lovers send our thoughts to his wife Dorothy and their family 🦡💔

-- Sheila Birkin