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John Gregory HonFSE
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John was instrumental when the Society for the Environment was launched in 2002 with the Institute for Fisheries Management as one of its constituent founder members. He and Robin Welcomme were appointed as board members of the new body and John was appointed chair between 2009 and 2011. In 2004 he achieved Chartered Environmentalist status. This was just one part of a long and fulfilling career.

John was born and raised in Sutton in Ashfield and showed an early interest in fishing, natural history and sport, all of which would occupy him for the rest of his life. He read Biological Sciences at the University of East Anglia before gaining fisheries management experience in the skipjack tuna fishery in the Solomon Islands.

More importantly, he also met his future wife at university and Lynden accompanied him on his sojourn in the Pacific. Returning to the UK, John joined the recently formed Anglian Water Authority to work on coarse fish management. He, Lynden and young son Sam then moved to Wales in 1980 when John transferred to the Welsh National Water Development Authority (shortly to become Welsh Water Authority) as a fisheries scientist in the Department of Scientific Services. He remained in this post until he moved to the new position of Fisheries Liaison Officer in which he played a more strategic role across Wales.

When the National Rivers Authority was formed in 1989, John moved to work as a development officer. In 1991 he changed jobs again when he became District Fisheries, Conservation and Recreation Officer (DFCRO) and his role altered slightly two years later as Area Manager of FCRN in South East Wales. After the creation of the Environment Agency, John took up the new post of Environment Manager for Eastern Valleys in 2002. In 2005 John left his fisheries’ roles and became a ‘change manager’ working in the Human Resources team until his retirement in 2012.

Since joining the London and South-East Branch of the IFM in 1975, John has always been a keen and enthusiastic supporter of the institute. He helped found the East Anglian branch, becoming its first secretary and sitting on Council as a branch representative, and serving on all the major committees. Upon becoming a formal Council member in 1981, John took the role of Publicity Officer and eventually becoming the first chairman of the Publicity and Promotions Committee in 1984. He was the first Editor of FISH magazine, in 1986, and would go on to become Vice-Chairman and Chairman of the Institute, in 1993-1998 and 1998-2003 respectively. In more recent years he acted as Honorary Secretary and then in a dynamic new role as Executive Director.

During his time with the Institute, John played a vital role in the creation of the Good Management Award, the IFM Newsletter (which later became FISH), Council Workshops, the IFM website, and continuous professional development (CPD). He was also active at a regional level and was Chairman of the Welsh Branch of the Institute for many years until 2003. In his ‘elder statesman’ role, he oversaw three annual conferences in Cardiff in 1993, 2004 and 2013.

John represented the IFM at NASCO (North Atlantic Salmon Conservation Organisation) for nearly 20 years. When Chris Poupard in 1996 formed a formal NGO Group with the aim of co-ordinating over 30 individual organisations’ statements, John provided staunch support as secretary to the group. Over many years, the NGOs played a leading role in reforming NASCO and eventually gained a seat on its council.

The tragic events earlier this year are scarcely believable. Lynden passed away suddenly from a cerebral aneurism in April and shortly before her funeral John himself was diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumour. All the dignity, calm and bravery that John had shown throughout his professional career and in his various roles with the Institute came to the fore in the last few months. He faced the implacable blows that fate had dealt him with incredible courage and cheerful good humour. Those same characteristics were displayed by his son Sam, daughter-in-law Kay and sister-in-law Kate in coping with the double loss of such close, much loved family members in quick succession.

John, a staunch socialist all his life, was a huge force for good. He was never frightened to challenge and steadfastly believed in doing the right thing. He always had the Institute at heart and was never driven by ego.

We were lucky to have him.

John is survived by his sister Ann, his son Sam, daughter-in-law Kay and two grandchildren, Amelie and Louis.

Originally published in FISH, the Quarterly Magazine of the Institute of Fisheries Management, which John grew and edited.

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