Much-loved Gazette nature columnist dies suddenly at 70

John Almond
John Almond

Long-standing and much-loved Gazette columnist John Almond has died suddenly at the age of 70.

John wrote the monthly Nature Notes for many years on behalf of the Alnwick and District Natural History Society.

He was born on Tyneside and, on leaving Gosforth Grammar School, he completed his chemistry studies at Loughborough University, working in industry for a short while before returning to Bristol University to complete his PGCE. He then spent his entire teaching career in Amble, first at Amble County Secondary School and then on reorganisation at Amble Middle School.

John’s lifelong interest was the great outdoors and he passed on his enthusiasm to his students via the North Northumberland Bird Club and his huge involvement in the Duke of Edinburgh Award Scheme – he himself was one of the early recipients of the Gold Award.

Out of school, he devoted much of his time to his interest in natural history and since 1970 was much involved with the Alnwick group, serving in many capacities, including chairman for several years.

He was also closely associated with the Amble and Alnwick Local History Societies and Coquetmouth and Coquetdale Wildlife Trust Groups.

John travelled widely throughout the world, proudly visiting every continent, saving Europe for his retirement. Major trips in his retirement included trips to Antarctica and Everest Basecamp giving him plenty of material for talks to groups, when he always relied on his trusted slides and Kodak carousel, never having mastered PowerPoint!

His aim in retirement was to go away every month and he did!

On retirement, John moved back to Tyneside but maintained his links with Northumberland.

He celebrated his 70th birthday on December 12 in typical fashion by organising a walk for many of his friends.

Gazette editor Paul Larkin said: “John was a gentleman and a stalwart of the paper with his fascinating nature insights. He will be greatly missed by his family, friends and the army of fans of his column.”