It is with great sadness that I have to report that Tony Lewis passed away last October after a short recurrence of the cancer which had afflicted him some years ago. In recent years he and Viv, as well as doing much important botanical recording work in the south-east Carmarthenshire and Swansea areas, had crammed in many visits to other parts of the country in pursuit of this interest. Tony treated Llanelli Naturalists members to several slide shows of points and plants of interest from these trips as well as discoveries they had made locally,
Having Cornish connections and living for many years on the English south coast, after spending some time as an accountant in London, he changed direction and became the editor of an in-house magazine for the Ministry of Defence. He had always been interested in birds and rambling and on retiring to the Swansea area, he met Viv whilst walking with the Ramblers and they were subsequently married. From that day on they were inseparable. He became acutely interested in the British flora, and latterly undertook much plant recording in Gower and Carmarthenshire. In recent years they travelled widely in the UK as well as the Channel Islands and Scillies where he was able to broaden his interest in plants having a southern distribution. This was very useful when determining many of the alien and casual species he discovered as garden escapes and adventives in South Wales.
His absence at meetings will be sorely missed. His authoritative, although quiet, gentle nature will not be forgotten. In recent years, as well as leading several local BSBI excursions, he gave us an extra, valuable surge of records for the Carmarthenshire Flora. George Hutchinson, whilst updating the embryonic text of the Carmarthenshire Flora, found that Viv and Tony have contributed one of the first three vice-county records for nearly sixty species! Thirty eight of the plant specimens that he donated to the National Museum of Wales have already been accessed on to the museum’s computer system.
Ian Morgan summed up his loss to botanical recording in Carmarthenshire very succinctly: “Tony did a great deal of very useful work, lending a fresh eye to the recording of plants in the county and spotting species that the local recorders had missed.”
Several Nats members were present at his funeral which was a very moving, humanitarian service. I take this opportunity on behalf of all those in the Llanelli Naturalists who knew Tony, to convey our sincerest condolences to Viv.
It seems I am always apologising for delays these days, but the sporadic appearance of the Newsletter in recent years is my failing and totally unsatisfactory. I find that there is just not enough time to fit everything in and as soon as I nearly complete an issue ready for publication, I get diverted onto another task, more urgent at the time, and another delay ensues. The only answer is to hand over the reins to someone who has more time than me and who can devote the time necessary to its production. Surely I am not the only member who could help-out here. Similarly, the web-site was started but has not been further developed because of the absence of ‘push’ from me. I would therefore welcome any offers to take-over, in order to return to the twice-yearly publication which we aimed for (and achieved) in the past.
A wide-ranging programme of future meetings is included in this Newsletter and I look forward to seeing you at these, in the future.