Bexhill lost one of its finest this week with the passing of Alan Malpass - he was Highwoods president and woodland warden, and a former local businessman.
He died in the early hours of Tuesday morning at Eastbourne DGH.
John Dowling writes: “Alan had been fighting leukaemia for some time, doing so with a characteristic blend of cheerful good humour and dogged determination.
“Alan was an inspirational leader. His love of nature in general and the Highwoods in particular were underpinned by an encyclopaedic knowledge. His understanding of the delicate inter-dependence of the environment was profound.
“Most significantly, his enthusiasm for all that his artist’s perceptive eye saw about him was infectious. He possessed the priceless gift of being able to pass on his knowledge, his expertise and his enthusiasm to others. The guided walks he had led so spiritedly for so many years were always a delight for everyone involved, be they newcomers to the woods or committee colleagues.
“The eyes of countless people have been opened by Alan to the wonders of the natural environment and its fragile balance. Alan’s was a gentle form of humour. It under-pinned every aspect of a busy and full life, from his business activities to his commitment to Christchurch Methodist Church, his love of cars and gifts as a watercolour artist to his family and to voluntary work.
“It was a key part of his success as the leader of guided walks – enabling him to reach out to all generations, from tiny children to pensioners.
“Somehow, if delivered with a twinkle in the eye and a memorable quip, facts about Nature remain enshrined in the memory. His friends and colleagues were under no illusion about the seriousness of Alan’s condition. They had shared with his widow Pam the inevitable ups and downs; the bad times and the welcome periods of remission. They had rejoiced when Alan was able to join the work-party recently for a coffee break chat and were delighted when he felt able to help lead the recent Half-Term Walk.”
Barry Turnwell of Christchurch said: “Alan was a lovely man who was well respected and very practical, friendly and well involved in the community. He was a committed member at Christchurch Methodist Church and sang in the Christchurch Singers (the concert on Saturday will still go ahead). Alan will be greatly missed by so many people and it was a real pleasure to have known him. His faith in his Lord was very strong and gave him great support particularly through the very difficult time he suffered from leukaemia. We particularly have his wife Pam in our thoughts and prayers, as well as the wider family at this sad time.”
Details of the funeral and Service of Thanksgiving will be available shortly.