Goodbye to Tim Reader and Graham Warren – and thank you for everything

CPRE Kent last year lost two of its most gifted and passionate supporters – here we pay tribute to men who helped make our organisation what it is today

Tim Reader had a wide-ranging knowledge of rural life

Tim was one of those increasingly rare countrymen who stayed true to his home turf, spending almost his entire life within a few hundred yards of the family farm of Uptons, between Yalding and Laddingford.
His interest in all aspects of country life and the environment proved invaluable to CPRE Kent, where he was an active member of both the Maidstone district and environment committees for many years. His knowledge of farming was particularly appreciated.
Born in 1946, Tim’s love of the outdoors began early, with school holidays spent helping on the farm, which had such animals as horses, bullocks and dairy cows, while hops were still picked by hand. After school, he studied agriculture at Hadlow College.
Six months travelling and working on farms in Canada broadened his experience before returning to join father Jack and cousin Peter at Uptons.
He accumulated huge knowledge and experience as the fruit and hop industries developed through the 1960s, 70s and 80s, with increasing mechanisation, pest control and developments in cold storage and packaging.
Sadly, in the late 1980s, structural changes in first the hop industry and then fruit led to the farm becoming unviable. This, combined with ill-health, saw Tim retire from active farming after almost 30 years in the job he loved.
He later became a volunteer member of the Upper Medway Drainage Board and served on Yalding Parish Council, where he kept watch on development proposals.
Tim leaves behind wife Ann, to whom he was married for 43 years.

Graham Warren had an encyclopaedic knowledge of the water industry

With the passing of Graham Warren, CPRE Kent has lost not only one of its most knowledgeable members a but a true gentleman.
Graham’s experience and understanding of the water industry was immeasurable and we were blessed to be able to draw on his vast reservoir of expertise.
Whether it was working as the resident geologist during Channel Tunnel site investigations in the mid-1960s; sharing his skills as a hydrologist in countries such as Iran, Greece and Zambia (where he was principal hydrologist and head of the country’s hydrological survey); or Kent area water resources manager with the Environment Agency, Graham enjoyed a stellar career in his chosen profession.
Just a week after retiring from the EA, Graham was at Ashford Wool Growers, where he bumped into Hilary Moorby, then CPRE Kent chair, who persuaded him to bring his talents to us.
His contribution was immense, writing influential papers on Kent’s water crisis, appearing as an expert witness on both hydrology and geology at planning inquiries and taking on a fracking brief that covered much of southern England. And he was never going to escape the job of chairing our environment committee!
Graham leaves wife Patricia, who he married in 1964, having met her at a jazz club four years earlier, and son Simon.
Graham’s advice was telling in the protection of so much of Kent, but for a moment of reflection, you might like to walk in West Wood, Lyminge, the destruction of which by a proposed ‘holiday village’ he helped thwart. There could perhaps be no finer tribute.   

Wednesday, December 29, 2021

Farewell and thank you to two champions of CPRE Kent

It is with great sadness that we must report on the loss of two great friends in February. The CPRE Kent family is all the stronger for its unity and the passing of two of the main players in our recent history will be felt deeply. We and many others have much for which to thank them both. Hilary Newport, CPRE Kent director, pays tribute.

Gary Thomas (right) with the Thurnham Heritage Award presented to CPRE Kent for its fight against development at Woodcut Farm. Also pictured are, from left, CPRE Kent director Hilary Newport and vice-president Richard Knox-Johnston and Thurnham parish council chairman Daniel Skinner.

Gary was chairman of the Kent branch of CPRE from 2003-2005, but his involvement with the organisation began well before and continued long after. My first memory of Gary was the leadership he exercised in bringing together communities in the North Downs Rail Concern group from across the county along the proposed route of what was then known as the Channel Tunnel Rail Link and is now High Speed 1.
With rational discussion rather than blanket opposition, the route of the high-speed line through Kent was gently improved to take more sensitive account of the landscapes through which it was passing, negotiating route alterations that meant the rail line would pass unobtrusively through tunnels rather than over viaducts along the slopes of the downs.
Gary had a keen eye for detail and an overwhelming commitment to improving the environment he would leave behind him. He was part of the formidable team that successfully put up a spirited community response to the challenge posed by AXA to locate a highly damaging road-rail freight interchange at the food of the Kent Downs AONB – just one of the damaging proposals to which he brought his energy, effort and campaign commitment.
A passionate environmentalist and keenly aware of the threat of climate change, he was tireless in his campaigning and for all he did to further CPRE Kent’s objectives.

Brian Lloyd was a genuine gentle giant and central to the court battle to save Farthingloe

Brian joined the CPRE Kent team as senior planner at the end of 2007, staying until his retirement in 2016.
He brought to the role his prodigious professional skill and passionate commitment to protecting landscapes and countryside from inappropriate development.
Brian was the principal player in our lengthy campaign to prevent the despoilation of a stretch of protected landscape at Farthingloe outside Dover, proposed for the inappropriate and damaging construction of more than 600 homes in an area of protected landscape. He saw not only the importance of defeating this application but the importance of the decision in standing up for designated landscapes everywhere.
He helped steer the challenge through the High Court, the Court of Appeal and finally the Supreme Court, where an important judgment was handed down in 2018 that agreed with Brian’s initial assessment: that a planning decision that has the potential to cause substantial harm to a very special landscape must not be undertaken without very substantial reasons.
This was a hugely important judgment that has been referred to widely in subsequent planning and court decisions and has helped communities across the country protect the green spaces they love.
The importance of this judgment does not, of course, belie Brian’s sharp wit and sense of humour. He was a genuinely gentle giant who was taken from us far too soon.
Both Brian and Gary will be fondly remembered by their CPRE Kent friends and our thoughts and condolences are with their family, friends and loved ones.

Wednesday, March 17, 2021