Ken Chapman - Vice President

I first came down to Sandwich Bay from Gillingham in North Kent in 1962 as a member of my school Bird Club and was immediately ‘hooked’. Like many of that generation of birders, I mis-spent a lot of my late teens and early twenties at the Observatory, trying to escape from reality, and was Chairman of the Committee for a few years in the 1970’s before work took me abroad to Kenya for a while. When I came back in 1981, I occupied myself in the world of education in the Midlands for just about the next 30 years – comprehensive schools, colleges, adult education, teacher training and educational management. I also managed to do a lot of birding around the country from this central point (including a lot of twitching for rarities) and first got ‘hooked’ on the Isles of Scilly, one of my favourite UK locations.

Scilly Isles Sandwich Bay Bird Observatory Trip.

On retirement I headed back to East Kent, got drawn into Observatory affairs, initially as Secretary and was Chair of the Trust for a number of years before being elected as Vice-President. I’m also Warden of the Monks Wall Nature Reserve in Sandwich. I’m interested in all aspects of natural history, of course, and just wished I had more time to devote to all those branches of study which are out there, but at the moment, I’m having to restrict myself to trying to just keep up with the plant life at the Bay. I’m also interested in compiling and sorting out all the archive materials which the Observatory holds.

Pyramidal Orchids at Sandwich Bay.

Since retirement, I’ve also been fortunate to travel to many parts of the world on birding trips, my favourite places being Tanzania and the Antarctic. Outside of birding, I’m quite a good gardener, (my current obsession is with cacti and succulents). And, of course, my family are very important, with all of my children and grandchildren living down in Sussex.

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