Book pays tribute to birding stalwart

Fred Grey (second left)'image courtesy of the Natural History Society of Northumbria
Fred Grey (second left)'image courtesy of the Natural History Society of Northumbria
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A PIONEERING teacher and birdwatcher has been honoured in a new bird bible.

Fred Grey was one of the founders of the Durham Bird Club and became its first chairman in 1975.

Now the club he helped form has released The Birds of Durham, a record of every species of bird recorded between the Tyne and Tees up to 2011 – 100 years after Mr Grey’s birth.

The book is dedicated to Mr Grey, who died in 1997.

The club has presented a copy to his daughter Joan Glass, of East Boldon.

Another inspiration for the tome was Brian Unwin, who also founded the club and died last year at his home in Whitburn.

Durham Bird Club’s Keith Bowey said: “Fred’s field skills and his ability as an educator were legendary.

“He touched and changed the lives of hundreds of people through his inspirational passion for nature, and above all, for birds.

“The first time many people saw a wild bird in the hand was with him, and in the late 1940s he was involved with a pioneering scheme to put up nestboxes for pied flycatchers in Hamsterley Forest.

“Fred was an awe-inspiring figure to most boys and through him many realised that biology and wildlife could be a career as well as an exciting hobby, and many took that route.

“A great deal is owed to this scholar, ornithologist and inspirational teacher and we were delighted to be able to present his daughter Joan with a copy of the book.”

Mrs Glass, of East Boldon, is pleased her father’s legacy lives on.

The 59-year-old florist said: “It is a great honour to receive a copy of the book and to know that dad was an inspiration for it. He was a very modest man who kept himself to himself and always thought other people deserved more credit than him but so many people said he should have written a book like this, his writing was so descriptive.”

Mrs Glass is a birdwatcher herself and said her dad’s passions have also been passed on to his grandchildren, Robin and Jennifer.

Twitter: @sunderlandecho