Trees planted in memory of Kettering botanist

A leading botanist from Kettering who had chemicals named after him will be remembered by newly-planted trees.

Wednesday, 20th November 2019, 6:00 am
Updated Wednesday, 20th November 2019, 9:18 am
Twywell Hills and Dales, tree planting in memory of botanist Jack Laundon, member of the Kettering & District Natural History Society.L-R: Susan Carter, Mrs Aida Freville, Mr Nick Freville, Charles Langtree (The Land Trust), Roger Warren, Eileen Burley, Geoff Miles.

Members of Kettering and District Natural History Society - which dates back to 1905 - were at Twywell Hills and Dales yesterday (Tuesday) to plant six saplings in memory of former society member Jack Laundon who died aged 82 in 2016.

The society's honorary treasurer Nick Freville said: "This is in memory of Jack because he left us a considerable sum of money.

"As our society is shrinking, with about 20 members, anything we do to do with nature we do because of him."

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

Jack worked at the Natural History Museum in London for almost 40 years and was considered an expert in the field of lichens, organism made up of fungus and algae commonly found on trees and rocks.

He started life at Park Road School in Kettering before going to Kettering Central School and then Kettering Grammar School.

A chance letter to the Natural History Museum saw him earn a role at the Department of Botany, where he remained until he was forced into early retirement in 1990.

In that time he was a founder member of the British Lichen Society and was awarded Fellowship of the Museums Association.

After he retired the lichen lepraria jackii was named in his honour in 1992, and the chemicals jackinic acid and norjackinic acid were named after him in 1995.

The six trees were planted in memory of him as well as Gill Gent, a county recorder for botany for more than 40 years, who died a year ago.

They are six different species comprising of a field maple, goat willow, sessile oak, silver birch, beech and hornbeam - the first of its kind at Twywell Hills and Dales, which is just off junction 11 of the A14.

Charles Langtree, estates manager for the Land Trust which manages the 54.6 hectare site, said: "We are delighted to be working with the society to plant this memorial copse of six trees."