Over two hundred family, friends and colleagues of popular conservationist Roy Taylor gathered at Dove Stone in Saddleworth on 14 November, in an inspiring and emotional event to celebrate his phenomenal life and career in nature conservation.
Roy Taylor is well-known for his remarkable work throughout Northern England where he spent his entire career working for the RSPB in a variety of conservation roles, most recently as an Area Reserves Manager for Yorkshire. He sadly passed away on 19 October, aged 49 following five years of living with motor neurone disease.
Roy was instrumental in several high profile conservation successes in Northern England such as the creation of the RSPB’s Old Moor nature reserve near Barnsley in South Yorkshire and key involvement in work at Woolston Eyes nature reserve in Warrington. He was probably most well known for being the dynamic driving force behind the successful RSPB and United Utilities partnership at Dove Stone, a place he held very dear.
At Dove Stone the RSPB have been working closely with land owners United Utilities since 2010 to restore the moorland. The upland areas of the Peak District used to boast thriving blanket bogs, but a combination of industrial pollution, managed moorland fires, wild fires, draining for farming and heavy grazing, left them seriously damaged with large areas of exposed bare peat and a limited amount of vegetation and therefore wildlife. Healthy, wet blanket bog plays a vital role not only as a home for wildlife, but in improving water quality, storing carbon to combat climate change, reducing flooding and increasing fire resilience.
David Morris, RSPB Reserves Manager in Northern England, and Roy’s manager and friend said: “Roy has often been described as a ‘conservation entrepreneur’ – a real one-off and something that many of us aspire to be. Like many, I have had the pleasure of working with Roy over a number of years on some brilliant pieces of work, his approach always brought energy, new ideas and real delivery. Some of my most inspiring days at work have involved Roy and it’s been an utter privilege to manage him over his final few months.
“Nature is in trouble across the UK and globe and it’s only with the sort of ideas and approach that people like Roy have brought, that will enable us to make a difference for nature and win those all-important hearts and minds – we can all play our part to help our struggling wildlife, whether that’s at home in our gardens and communities, volunteering on a local conservation project or writing to our MPs. Roy leaves a vast legacy behind him and I’m delighted that we have been able to mark the truly inspiring contribution he has made, by celebrating his life and career in a moving event at his beloved Dove Stone.”
For the memorial celebrations at Dove Stone, following speeches and photos from family, friends and colleagues, attendees then headed to the RSPB’s Celebration Wood on the site. A memorial oak tree was planted above Roy’s ashes and wildflowers were added all around it. Roy’s tree was placed next to another oak that had been planted there 4 years ago, to celebrate the birth of his son – the first tree to be planted in Celebration Wood.
The RSPB’s Celebration Wood at Dove Stone, overlooks the tranquil reservoir, against the dramatic backdrop of the surrounding moors. Trees can be planted to remember a life well lived or mark a special event. A selection of native trees are available, providing a fitting tribute and a home for wildlife. For more details please contact Claire Johnston, 01457 819880 or email firstname.lastname@example.org