|David on sparkling form at Kew, chatting to Peter Marren,
Gwynn Ellis & Mike McCarthy
Amongst David's many achievements are: co-authoring the 2002 New Atlas of the British & Irish flora; being BSBI President 1995-1998; and chairing BSBI Records & Research Committee until this February, when he handed over to Paul Smith.
|Admiring Rosemary Fitzgerald's amusingly-captioned
photographs of David in the field
|Pearman, Preston & Dines: the New Atlas team re-united
We were helped in this endeavour by the excellent Anita Pearman (the secret of David's success!) and BSBI President Ian Denholm paid tribute to both of them, saying "David’s hard work, talent and enthusiasm have been pivotal in expanding and revitalising scientific work within BSBI. We owe him a great debt. He’s also a fantastic guy. As incoming President I benefited hugely from his patient mentoring and (like many others) from the incredible hospitality provided by David and Anita at ‘Algiers’!”
So, what did we come up with for the fantastic guy? First of all, Ian and Paula Rudall (Kew's new Head of Comparative Plant and Fungal Biology) opened the day's proceedings and welcomed around seventy guests to Kew.
|Chris and Mark before their talks
Chris Preston kicked off with a talk entitled (with typical Preston wit) 'Hybrids: nature's dross?"
Then Mick Crawley gave us 'In praise of small-scale Floras' and Mark Gurney (RSPB) closed the morning session with a talk on 'Gains and losses: recent colonisations and extinctions in Britain'.
|Alfred and the "furry seeds"
And Kew Gardens proved an excellent hunting ground for one budding botanist. Judging by his pleasure in finding Platanus hispanica leaves and "furry seeds", David's grandson Alfred may be set to follow in his forebear's illustrious footsteps!
|David Roy and slide of David P. with a Hogweed in Turkey
|Gwynn's slide: David shows the New Atlas
to the Rt. Hon. Margaret Beckett MP
Pete Stroh, who has botanised with David in the Hebrides, said "No matter the weather or terrain, in the field David appears to have endless energy, is a wealth of information, rather too fearless for my constitution, and is someone who will be impossible to replace. He does need to work on his culinary skills though!"
Hmm, I wonder what strange delights David rustled up for Pete after a long day in the field...?
|Cameras at the ready: David cuts the cake..,
Anita had tipped us off that chocolate cake is a favourite chez Pearman, and Helen managed to recreate the BSBI logo, decorate the cake with gorgeous sugar Bluebell flowers and ice it with a simple message that said it all: Thank you David.
|...watched by Alfred and Anita
Lynne Farrell also presented David with a commemorative plant, Cytisus x kewensis 'Niki', a Broom cultivar which David is rather fond of, and which we hope will flourish in the Pearman garden at 'Algiers'. That's in Cornwall, in case you were wondering!
And Lynne gave him a big card signed by all present to mark this Red Letter Day and lead us nicely into the launch of the England Red List!
|Lynne, David, "Red Letter" &
Cytisus x kewensis 'Niki'
|Kevin Walker (and remains of cake!)
And of course to the man himself, seen here surrounded by some of his many friends in the Society. Thank you, David.