Obituary for David Bellamy

The botanist, broadcaster and conservationist David Bellamy has died at the age of 86.

David Bellamy at the Chelsea Flower Show in 2013. © Eamonn McCormack/WireImage/Getty

In a statement from the Conservation Foundation, of which David Bellamy was co-founder and President, director David Shreeve said: “Sadly, I have to report that David Bellamy died this morning.  David and I worked together on a variety of projects in a various places since launching The Conservation Foundation in 1982.

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He was a larger-than-life character who became a very special friend and teacher. He inspired  a whole generation with his wide range of interests and enthusiasm which knew no bounds.

The Conservation Foundation was very special to him and so today is very sad for all of us.”

David Bellamy, investigates foliage, up an Acacia tree in Surry Hills.Visiting British botanist David Bellamy, here in Australian to promote his television series, Up A Gum Tree, in 1981. © Julian Kevin Zakaras/Fairfax Media/Getty Images

BBC Wildlife Magazine editor Paul McGuinness paid tribute to the London-born scientist and TV personality: “As a child growing up in the late seventies and early eighties, David Bellamy was a name everybody in the playground knew.

Any time we found ourselves somewhere even a little wild, we’d burst into impressions of the charismatic botanist who brought the natural world into our living rooms on Multi-Coloured Swap Shop, Blue Peter and even, unexpectedly, Grange Hill.

Bellamy was the face and voice of nature for us, introducing endless wonders of the natural world, from exotic jungles to the ends of our gardens. We didn’t just want to watch him, we wanted to be him. It was Bellamy who made us want to get our hands dirty and to learn about nature.

It’s fair to say that few botanists have had such an impact on a generation as Bellamy had on those children who grew up with his programmes.

Along with Sir David Attenborough and Gerald Durrell, Bellamy is one of Britain’s most influential naturalists over the last 50 years. He wrote for our magazine for many years – when Wildlife magazine joined the BBC fold as BBC Wildlife Magazine, Bellamy featured in that very first issue.

My own love of nature owes a great debt to David Bellamy – a sentiment I’m sure echoed by everyone at BBC Wildlife Magazine – and for that I can only thank him.”

David Bellamy at a reception hosted by Queen Elizabeth II at Buckingham Palace in 2006. © Anwar Hussein Collection/Getty Images

A full obituary will appear in the February 2020 issue of BBC Wildlife Magazine.


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Main image: David Bellamy at the Chelsea Flower Show in 2013. © Eamonn McCormack/WireImage/Getty