Members at our 2007 BBQ

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Mike Sullivan 115th President


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Mike Sullivan was the epitome of a self taught man. In many ways he was more like some of our earlier presidents than the formal academics that had held the post in recent years.

We have two tributes to him in our Newsletter number 59 in 2003. The first the formal obituary: -

Many of you are aware of the sudden death of our Past President, Mike Sullivan, in June. Mike had a lifelong interest in birds and his only regret was that in his days in the Navy, when he travelled the World there were no Field Guides so he never knew what he saw.

He was always ready to recount anecdotes of his experiences, ranging from watching rats consume an Army Field Hospital in India to listening to Tawny Owls in Whitchurch while on the beat as a policeman.

In recent years his interest widened to include plants, moths and butterflies. He also made up for leaving school early by studying Geology, recently earning himself a Master of Science degree. With this knowledge he gave many hotels in different countries a geological summary of the area so that they could pass this on to other guests and local people.

His aim was always to interest people in CNS and in conservation, and on meeting people when birdwatching he would always try to convince them to join us.

An enthusiastic member of our Society he will be missed. Our condolences go to his family.

Jeff Curtis 111th President

The second was this less formal note from myself: -

The loss of Mike Sullivan was sudden news and I'm sure his loss is keenly felt by many of us. I'd just like to share with members a few thoughts

I first met Mike when I joined the CNS back about 14 years ago. We rapidly found that we had a keen interest in geology in common (Mike was studying for his first Open University degree at that time). This shared interest gave us things to discuss and debate, in an often spirited way, and soon brought about a close friendship. We often worked together for the society, manning stands at Woodland Fairs and the like.

As I was a "single" man in the early years of our friendship he was always pointing out the young ladies for me! When, a few years later, I met Rhian and took her to a CNS trip to Oxwich Mike was the first to come up and ask who she was, where we'd met etc. His innate openness meant no messing and he soon found out she was a geologist so he told me in no uncertain way that I'd found a diamond and that I'd better "keep hold of her".

During my term as Presidency Mike was a constant supporter, acting as Secretary, and afterwards I know that he was honoured to be asked to serve himself in the same role. We had some interesting debates and discussions on our ways to and from meetings and I know that Mike's health prevented him from being as active during his Presidency as he would have liked, but we all thought he was on the mend and I like others was devastated by the new of his sudden passing.

He probably never thought of himself as being inspirational, but taking on an OU degree is something that I think of as significant now and taking on not just a BSc, but Higher Degrees as well in your retirement is something that tells us "young'uns" that it's never too late to get going.

Mike was never one to dwell on the past, but I'm sure that he wouldn't mind me remembering him fondly once in a while.

Andy Kendall 113th President



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