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Not only is the death of David Shepherd a huge loss to the conservation world as a whole, it is also a great loss to the Countryside Restoration Trust and he is remembered with both tears and happy memories.

David followed his good friend Gordon Beningfield as Patron of the CRT in 1998. He was both a huge supporter and a constant source of help and advice. Many will remember him speaking in St Peter’s Church – the local church to Lark Rise Farm – and also a wonderful visit to his home and studio when Friends were welcomed by David and Avril, his wife.

Lulu and I were privileged to go to Tresco with him, almost exactly two years ago, together with Dame Judi Dench and David Mills to see the red squirrels the CRT had helped to introduce to the island. He might be famous for his paintings of elephants and tigers – but both he and Avril loved the “reds” and the work being done by the CRT and the British Wildlife Centre to help with their survival.

David was a man of huge talent, wit and modesty – it is a privilege to have known him and to count him as a friend. For the CRT, his Patronage has been a great honour and a pleasure; he will be sorely missed.

Our thoughts are with Avril and her family at this sad time.

Robin Page – Chairman