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Saturday, 23 March 2013

Obituary - Frank Murgatroyd

Frank Murgatroyd has died at the age of 97. He was a much respected and liked ex-president of Halifax Scientific Society to whom you could take any flowering plant, grass, sedge, fern or fungus and he would usually give you its identity there and then without looking it up. "The Flora of the Parish of Halifax" was his work; ( this covers the whole of Calderdale basically.)

He was initially a bird watcher; found a Desert Wheatear at Upper Gorple in his younger days. People came from all over to see it.

He was also a very quiet, phlegmatic, unstressable man. When anyone created fuss about what they saw as damaging developments in natural areas, he would say that he had a "What goes around comes around" atitiude to changes.

Funeral arrangements to follow.


Alison said...

Sorry to hear the news of Frank Murgatroyd, Steve. I was just going to do a bird post, and saw this. Condolences go to his family.

Brian Sumner . said...

HC,(BOG) and myself started going to HSS in 1965 as young upcoming birders
and were helped on our way by Frank Murgatroyd, Vernon Crapnell, Irvine Morley and R. Crossley, the latter I think used to write a birding column in the Halifax Courier.
We had some enjoyable meetings and good field trips, the type you never forget.
A sad loss.

Steve Blacksmith said...

Hi Brian,
I wish I had known about the Scientific Society in 1965. Might have kept me on the straight and narrow! I joined in the 80s. Frank was still a very active naturalist then.
I got his age wrong, but have now altered it on the post.
It was Clifford Lees who wrote the bird column in the Courier. I remember it with his little pen sketches in the "Trend of Things" section.

Brian Sumner . said...

Yes thats right Steve, Clifford Lees , its all coming back now, happy days.

Bruce said...

Hi Brian
I joined the Society in 1965 aged 15 so I have been a Member for a very long time. Frank must have been in his 40's.

I must have seen you then. My first excursion was to Clumber Park, Frank was there. We found a huge dead pike at the narrow end of the lake. Were you there? My abiding memory of Frank is, If on an excursion you lost the site of Frank the we looked for the shock of white hair in later years. He was always attached to it. Happy days never to be forgotten.

Green Business Network (GBN) said...

My story echoes much of the above too. Lots of respect for my early days in Halifax Scientific Society with Frank Murgatroyd, Vernon Crapnell, Irvine Morley, Clifford Lees. Nigel O

Brian Sumner . said...

Didnt do the Clumber Park Bruce but the one that sticks in mind is Sunderland Point where we got half way across and the tide came in above our knees by the time we got to safety.
Frank had a expanding telescope which must have been 12ft long and all us young uns had it across our shoulders whilst the adults scanned the estuary.
I remember seeing my first Shelducks there out on a sandbank.

Nick Carter said...

Very sad to hear this tonight, had it not been for the HSS and characters such as those mentioned by Nigel plus those that followed (eg Dave Crawshaw and Bruce Hoyle) I'm pretty sure I wouldn't have had the life long interest in birds and the natural world that I have enjoyed so much. Frank played a major part in this and was the true all round naturalist with a deep knowledge natural history. It may be a cliche but I genuinely do doubt we will see the likes of him again.

Nick Carter said...

A funeral service takes place at Melia’s Chapel of Rest, Halifax, on April 8, 10.15 am, followed by cremation at Park Wood, Elland.

From Courier obituary.