MALCOLM DOUGLAS OSMUNSON ~ 13th May 1940 - 16th October, 2021
Malcolm was born in Redbridge, east London in May 1940, and was brought up by his mother and grandmother in London. Of course, London was heavily bombed during the Blitz, and we can imagine a young Malcolm being rushed to the air-raid shelter or perhaps to the local Tube station to shelter from the bombardment.
When Malcolm was ten, his mother met and married a member of the United States Air Force, and the family relocated to Washington. He was educated and graduated in America, and was passionate about science, with an ambition to become a zoologist.
Upon returning to Britain, however, the fact that his qualifications were gained in the States were a hindrance to his entering that field. Undaunted, he succeeded in getting a job at Queen Elizabeth College in London as a laboratory technician, and we shall hear more about how his career progressed shortly.
Malcolm met his wife Irene when they both also had part-time jobs at a cinema. She was an usher and ice-cream vendor, and Malcolm worked in front of house. Deborah and Mark told me that their Mum thought he was a bit of a twit, quite nerdy, but also a gentleman with lovely manners. She was a bit more streetwise and down to earth. Clearly, opposites attracted, and the pair must have had a great time together around the Portobello Road area of London in the Swinging 60s!
Their marriage was blessed with the births of Mark and Deborah, but sadly Malcolm and Irene split up when the children were in their teens, and as is often the case contact between father and children became infrequent. Malcolm was never overly comfortable with young children, especially other peoples, but Deborah and Mark remember him being a loving, hands-on Dad when they were small, and later a proud Granddad and great-Granddad. He was always available for help and advice when they needed it. They also have early memories of going in to work with him to feed the laboratory animals and milk the snakes.
Outside of work, Malcolm had always had a keen interest in industrial archaeology, and loved to visit old mills, iron bridges, and factories, as well as (perhaps surprisingly) churches, and this is evidenced by some of the paintings he had on his walls at home. Art was one of his abiding interests, and he had commissioned a couple of portraits.
Mark has memories of his Dad’s huge collection of slides taken at industrial buildings, which Malcolm would enthusiastically get his son sit and watch, telling him it was educational. Mark, I think you found it more akin to torture!
I loved catching a glimpse of some of his wonderful collections of various items – the china jugs being one amazing selection. There were also, I believe, cigarette cards, coins, stamps, periodicals and matchboxes.
In the late 1980s Malcolm met Sue, a colleague at work and after living together in Hanwell for a number of years Sue was offered a job at Oxford University and as this coincided with Malcolm retiring, they then relocated to South Leigh.
They both loved their Oxfordshire home and Malcolm became very involved in village life, helping to run the village fete, and volunteering at Witney Museum. Sadly in 2010 Sue was diagnosed with breast cancer and passed away two years later at home, with Malcom caring for her to the end.
Malcolm started his career in 1960 at Queen Elizabeth College in the Physiology Department, where he became a chief technician, or laboratory superintendent, as was the terminology at the time. He always wore a suit - a rarity amongst technical staff, and during breaks avidly completed crosswords, an interest he kept up until his death.
During this time, he became a lay officer in the Queen Elizabeth College ASTMS Union branch, playing an important role in the merger of Queen Elizabeth College, Chelsea College and King’s College London. He was instrumental in bringing together the technical structures and services of the three organisations.
Malcolm also became a trustee of the SAUL pension scheme, a scheme with a strong technical membership. He did this as a duty to all of his colleagues despite finding the meetings very dull.
Following the merger, Malcolm managed all of the combined technical services of the health and life sciences, with responsibility for all technical services on the three sites of the merging Colleges. He visited them weekly and met with all of the technicians informing them of changes and developments, sharing information to all. At this time, he became the Branch Chair of the merged Union, now called MSF.
The expertise and exceptional effort that Malcolm contributed to the merger of the three colleges and subsequent consolidation into a single organisation was recognised, and he was awarded an MBE for his ‘contribution to higher education’.
When the Health Schools were merged and moved south of the river to sites at Waterloo, Guy’s and Denmark Hill a major exercise of grading and slotting-in of technical staff to the pay scales was required. Malcolm was instrumental in this reorganisation, mentoring technicians and helping them to fit into the new structures and the new ways of doing things.
Following his retirement in 2005, he moved to the Cotswolds where he lived with his partner and latterly his wife Sue Holly. His organisation skills were soon called in to help run the village and the summer fete which flourished due to his involvement. He took up wood turning and quickly became the finance trustee to the Oxfordshire Wood Turners Association.
Malcolm’s contributions to the creation of what latterly became King’s College London’s Faculty of Life Sciences & Medicine were enormous, creating a culture that has continued to be fostered. He will be greatly missed by all who worked with him; his encouragement and forbearance were legendary.
Malcolm’s interests were indeed manifold – he had a strong social conscience as evidenced by his work with trade unions, and he took a great interest in the homeless, volunteering at some of the Crisis Christmas lunches. He loved birdlife and was a lifetime member of the RSPB, as well as the Ashmolean Museum and the National Trust. In retirement, Malcolm was a member of the Oxfordshire Pensioners’ Group and enjoyed outings to the Oxford Playhouse amongst others.
Malcolm’s last years were enriched by his partnership with Shirley, and she has written warmly about their time together.
He was an innately sociable man, and his friends have described him as warm and kind. But I think he would be the first to admit that he didn’t suffer fools gladly, and he enjoyed the company of others very much on his own terms and when he wanted! Perhaps we can all relate to that.
During his last months, Malcolm was indeed fortunate to have Mark and Deborah, along with Shirley, spending time with him and overseeing his care.
I met Malcolm at the Witney Museum where we both served on the committee for several years.
He was a kind, gentle, considerate, and courageous man who was aware of and acted upon many social issues. Malcolm supported many local and national charities. Last year he was contacted by Amnesty International and was told he was one of the longest serving donors of the charity.
Together we enjoyed many trips, visiting National Trust properties, art galleries, classical music concerts and walks in Blenheim Park. Usually after these events we would end up in a cafe for a sticky bun. We went on several holidays, regularly went to the Oxford Playhouse and of course the Burford Jazz Club was a favourite, with Clive and Caroline.
He would make me laugh a lot, he was very organised and would have a list for his collections, a list for his daily chores and a spreadsheet for what he wanted to take on holidays.
Malcolm mended and repaired objects and I did wonder if his eye for detail was influenced by his mother who made elaborate dolls houses and furniture.
In the last few years of his life, he continued to be creative by making garden sculptures out of found objects from the beach and walking in the woods. Malcolm appreciated all art forms and creativity; he supported me in all my art pursuits.
The last few months of Malcolm's life were spent doing crosswords and Scrabble. He was a consummate crossword player. He used to give me a wry look and tut if I looked at the answers.
We packed in a lot of memories in the short time we had together. Malcolm bore his cancer with dignity and fortitude. He was my soulmate and a very special person to me, and I will miss his sense of humour and zest for life.
Malcolm touched so many people’s lives. He will be remembered for his many kindnesses, his strong social conscience, his gentlemanly nature, his care for his family and friends, his sense of humour, his encouragement of others.
Malcolm’s ashes have been buried at Fairspear Natural Ground in Leafield, to join those of his late wife, Sue.
TOM LITT 1930 - 2020
Tom was born in 1930 in Cumbria near Carlisle and came to Oxfordshire as a child when his father was asked to manage a farm in Horspath near Cowley.
One of six children, Tom followed in his father’s footsteps and on leaving school worked on a number of farms. He soon found a thriving social life at Faringdon Young Farmers’ Club, which provided a centre of activities that Tom enjoyed including dances, quiz nights, darts matches, football and tennis. He made many long-term friends and was always fully involved and eventually became their club chairman. He was working at Step Farm for a Mr. Saunders who encouraged former agricultural students. By now he was playing football for several different clubs, including Stanford in the Vale, and it was whilst playing for them that he broke his jaw so badly that it had to be wired up for several weeks.
On leaving Step Farm Tom went to work at Barcot Farm before being asked to manage Buckland Marsh Farm for the executors of the late M. Bob Pike. Later he took another farm manager's role in Cricklade running a large estate for a Mr. Horton. It was whilst working there that he met Barbara.
Eventually Tom and Barbara married and life took on a big change of direction when, with two small children, Sara and Kairen, he decided to take on the lease of The Mason Arms in South Leigh, a run-down pub in need of a big makeover if it was to be a viable business. Tom became an excellent host and landlord, brewing his own beer which became a very popular local brew and nationally recognised by the Campaign for Real Ale. He and Barbara ran an excellent restaurant which quickly became the ‘go to’ eating establishment in the area. Tom travelled to Faringdon to buy his beef and to Selsey in Sussex to buy fish, lobsters and crab. Tom, along with Jeremy Walker, kept a water ski boat aptly named ‘Tom & Jerry’ at the 3T’s lake in Standlake. The girls became proficient water skiers and Tom enjoyed driving the boat and teaching their friends how to water ski.
It was during this time that Tom was also Chairman of Witney Town Football Club and was heavily involved in the development of the club.
During his 20 years in the restaurant business, Tom had built a family home in Church End, South Leigh but when he retired from the Mason Arms they moved to Tarwood Lodge until a house at Field Assarts had been renovated into a beautiful new home. By this time Sara was cooking in London, Scotland, France and Greece and Kairen was working for Pergamon Press in Oxford.
Tom took over the running of Witney Park and Pick on the estate of John Mawle. This he made into a successful business until the land was needed for development as Witney expanded.
On leaving Field Assarts, Tom and Barbara moved to Bampton and being at a loose end, but wanting to keep busy, Tom started going to Bristol Fruit and Veg market twice a week and created a small delivery round to local shops. Tom and Barbara’s next move was to Pulborough in Sussex to be nearer to Sara and to help with her growing family. One of his pleasures whilst there was attending Goodwood races where he became a member and made some good friends whilst doubtless winning a few pounds.
Following Barbara’s death in 2004, Tom moved to Drayton, near Abingdon.
Tom always enjoyed his holidays and spent many boating holidays in Cornwall, camping in France and visits to the Algarve, Gibraltar, Malta as well as visiting Sara when she was cooking on one of the Greek Islands. There were also several winter trips to East Africa.
At the age of 78, Tom decided on a big trip to Australia and New Zealand by himself, travelling light with just one carry-on case for a six weeks tour. “I can buy what I need when I get there” he said. His final two years were difficult; as Tom had become less mobile he moved to The Bridge House in Abingdon for care where he celebrated his ninetieth birthday with an excellent lunch. Tom was a great family man and a proud grandfather of five grandchildren. He led an eventful and varied life which he lived to the full. It led him in many different directions… he had hard times, he had great times, he was always good company, he made lots of friends, he worked hard, he played hard, he was loyal to a fault. The world was a better place for him having lived for ninety years.
Sara Voice and Kairen Caudwell
Graham 'Buster' Townsend
Graham was born 4th September 1951 in Bromley Kent. He moved with his parents Evelyn (known as June) and Allen Townsend to Stanton Harcourt, growing up with his younger brother, Roger, first living on the old airfield before moving to a house on Flexneys Paddock.
When Graham left Bartholomew School in Eynsham he did an apprentiship in HGV mechanics at Harcourt Motors, later gaining his HGV licence and so spent most of his working life as a lorry driver, which he loved. He did spend a period of time working at the car factory in Oxford - British Leyland as it was then - and a period laying TV cables. But lorries were what he loved best.
Graham came from a family of Banger Racing, spending many weekends either racing or tinkering with his race car with his brother, he often would talk about Nova 176.
He was a big Teddy Boy and very proud of it, loving Elvis and Shwaddywaddy. He married Julie in 1978, taking on her two sons, Jake and Glenn as his own, before they had Cally in 1980. He was an excellent father to all three... calm, reliable and hard working. For Graham his family always came first. Graham loved fixing cars. Not just his own but there were always regular knocks on the door while they lived in Standlake (1978-2007) and it would be someone asking if he could 'take a look at their car' or, in Julie's words 'go out and play cars'.
Then, living in Lymbrook Close, South Leigh where even the postman would pop in to chat with him, and everyone kept an eye on him. Graham loved camping and caravanning holidays as a family and later with Julie and Odie. They camped all over the UK, walking many miles and climbing many hills and mountains. Cally remembers the time when they had storm winds and had to tie the tent to the car, she remembers how it was dark out and he ran out to join the other campers, helping to secure the other tents that were not doing so well. Cally remembers one time that they woke up with a river running through the tent and Graham had to dig a trench round the tent to divert the water.
Graham loved wolves! He had a wolf tattoo and one of his favourite outings was to the Wolf Conservation Trust in Reading where he got to walk with the wolves.
Graham had a really close relationship with his grandson, Harvey. They would spend many weekends watching movies like Convoy - they once watched it twice in one night - or listening to his record collection. Jake remembers the many times Graham would come and find him when he got lost on his motorbike, often travelling miles.
A gentle giant, always with a smile on his face, always ready to help in any way he could...
Grampy Buster to Harvey, Freya, Albie, Eliza, Lanny, Thorn, Michael, Kaylen, Louie and Alysha.
SIR CLIVE CHRISTOPHER HUGH ELLIOTT, 4th Bt., PH.D., 12th August, 1945 - 18th April, 2018
by Stephen Pringle (with thanks to Bob Cheke and John Cooper for their comments)
Clive Elliott once told me in jest that he hoped that his death, when it came, would be on the tennis court, preferably after he had struck the match-winning shot. It was not to be; Clive succumbed to a virulent form of cancer on 18th April 2018. His sudden passing at the age of 72 brought to a close a remarkably full and interesting life, much of it spent in what he referred to as his beloved ‘dark continent’ – Africa.
Born in 1945 in what was then Tanganyika to Sir Hugh and Lady Elizabeth Elliott, Clive was the youngest of three children, and the only one to inherit his father’s passions for both Africa and birds. At a pre-school age, Clive began his life-long travels to remote and interesting places; his father was appointed as the first Administrator of Tristan da Cunha (‘Tristan’), the main island of a remote volcanic archipelago in the South Atlantic. It was there that Clive received his early schooling from 1950-52. He soon became fascinated by the abundant sea-birds, and his interests in wildlife were nurtured by the happy coincidence of there being two top ornithologists and an ichthyologist on the island at that time. In addition to his father, an eminent amateur who became an authority on the herons of the world (Hancock & Elliott 1978), Tristan was host to Berthus and Bunty Rowan, both of whom were research scientists working in the fishing industry. Bunty (Mrs MK Rowan), a microbiologist, was also an expert ornithologist who later played a pivotal role in the creation of the Percy FitzPatrick Institute of African Ornithology (‘FitzPatrick Institute’) at the University of Cape Town in South Africa, where she had a distinguished research career. When his father was drafted back to Tanganyika, Clive was sent to the Dragon School in Oxford, returning during school holidays to Africa, where he pursued his interests in birds.
From an early age Clive was fluent in Swahili, a skill that was to be of great benefit in his later career. However, this fluency had a downside; his father, who passed his mischievous sense of humour onto his son, enjoyed conversing loudly in Swahili with an embarrassed Clive on London buses, much to the astonishment of startled fellow passengers. The Elliott family returned to their ancestral home in Woodstock Road, Oxford when Tanganyika became independent as Tanzania in 1961. Clive completed his schooling at Bryanston in Dorset, after which he read Zoology at University College, Oxford.
As an undergraduate member of an Oxford University expedition to northern Uganda, Clive surveyed the avifauna of the remote Kidepo National Park (Elliott 1972). During these years Clive developed close links with the university’s Edward Grey Institute and he was duly offered a place to study for a doctorate under its eminent director, David Lack. His research project was destined to be on warblers in Africa, contingent upon funding from the Royal Society. While awaiting the offer of funding, Clive spent a summer in Cumbria working with Niko Tinbergen’s research team on Black-headed Gulls Chroicocephalus ridibundus. At this point an opportunity cropped up that was to change the course of Clive’s life. Through the Tristan link with Bunty Rowan, he became aware of a funded research position at the FitzPatrick Institute that would enable him to undertake a doctorate on the Cape Weaver Ploceus capensis. Frustrated by funding delays, and keen to return to Africa, Clive applied for, and was offered this position, and he arrived in Cape Town early in 1968. It turned out that this seemingly impulsive decision to study weavers instead of warblers was particularly fortuitous for Clive’s later career. Coinciding with his arrival in Cape Town, Clive received Royal Society funding for a short research trip to Gough Island to work on Great Shearwaters Ardenna gravis (Elliott 1970).
I first met Clive in 1968 when I enrolled at the University of Cape Town to study physics and mathematics; the link was that I was a keen amateur ornithologist and a trainee bird-ringer. My knowledge of local birds and birding sites was particularly useful to Clive and we often went on field trips together. Even more useful to Clive was my fluency in Afrikaans, which would be put to good use when we went on weaver-collecting trips to various parts of the Western Cape. We travelled through farming areas where only Afrikaans was spoken and I would be tasked with knocking on the door of each farmhouse to ask whether my scientist friend could shoot some specimens for his research. Clive would generally remain out of sight in the car, his trendy long hair - revolutionary at that time in South Africa - being a red rag to many Afrikaners.
Soon Clive’s circle of local (mostly amateur) ornithologist friends widened, as did the range of bird species we researched. Penguins, cormorants, waders, starlings, swallows and weavers were all targets of weekend and evening ringing trips. In 1969, Clive and I were rather surprisingly given permission to visit Robben Island with senior members of the university’s Zoology department and FitzPatrick Institute to investigate the feasibility of ringing Hartlaub’s Gull Chroicocephalus hartlaubii chicks. At that time, Nelson Mandela was serving his fifth year of incarceration in the high-security prison, and the island was inaccessible to all except the police and military. I can’t claim that we saw Mandela chipping away at the rocks in the limestone quarry, but perhaps he saw us from his cell window and wondered what on earth these strange visitors were up to. Clive’s earlier work on Black-headed Gulls was no doubt part of the justification for the trip, but I suspect he was also keen to visit Robben Island because of its notorious connotations. Clive’s robust anti-apartheid views often made his Cape Town years awkward in terms of his relationship with his PhD supervisor and I recall a heated argument between the two of them on the boat trip back to Cape Town Docks. At a more sinister level, his activities (and mine) were, unbeknown to us, being monitored by a student friend and expert amateur ornithologist, who secretly worked for the Bureau of State Security, or security police. Many years later, after the change of government in South Africa, it emerged that our friend’s activities had led to the deaths of several anti-apartheid activists during the late 1970s and 1980s, including Steve Biko.
While working to complete his doctorate (Elliott 1973), Clive also led the research efforts of a diverse group of mainly amateur wader enthusiasts, whose ringing and census work resulted in several papers on Palaearctic waders (e.g., Elliott et al. 1976), and provided key data used to justify the classification of Langebaan Lagoon in South Africa (Pringle & Cooper 1975) and part of Walvis Bay lagoon in Namibia (Underhill et al. 1978) as Ramsar Wetland Sites of International Importance. Wader ringing was primarily by means of mist netting, but it became clear that cannon netting would be a useful additional method of capturing species such as Sanderling Calidris alba. However, this seemingly innocuous device could not be imported into pariah state South Africa because of the international arms embargo at that time. Clive arranged for a member of the ringing team with engineering skills to fabricate a local version and it was used with much success for several years. In great contrast to some of his professional colleagues, Clive’s enthusiastic involvement in wader research was typical of his approach to working closely with amateur birders, building on their knowledge and enthusiasm, nurturing their research skills and encouraging them to publish their results. Clive’s conviction that well-directed amateurs could make a significant contribution to the science of ornithology predated by more than two decades the concept of ‘citizen science’, now much in vogue (Gura 2013).
In Cape Town, when he was in his mid-twenties, Clive’s flamboyant dress sense made him instantly recognisable among the far more conservatively-dressed South African men. Whether sporting flared Oxford bags on campus, or standing at the prow of our boat heading out to a seabird island while donning his crumpled hat and flowing red bandanna, he cut a distinctive figure. Complementing this image, Clive purchased an elderly, but stylish, open-topped red MG sports car, which nearly led to his early demise. Driving alone in swirling dust along an isolated dirt road into the setting sun he had not spotted a flimsy barbed-wire gate located behind a cattle grid. His car crashed through the gate at speed, demolishing it, but somehow he avoided being decapitated. Emerging dazed from the wreckage he found himself beside the farmer, who demanded compensation. Clive handed over some cash and resumed his journey in a crumpled car that by then matched his crumpled birding hat.
After completing his initial research contract, Clive was heavily involved in the creation of a new framework to administer bird ringing in South Africa and some adjacent countries. He was appointed to run (1972-75) the organisation that he succeeded in naming the National Unit for Bird Ringing Administration; the acronym by which it became known (NUBRA) appealed to his wry humour. In 1973 at a Cape Bird Club meeting Clive met Marie-Thérèse (‘M-T’) Rüttimann, who had recently joined the human genetics research group at the University of Cape Town. With her adventurous spirit, love of wild places, and wide knowledge of wildlife, M-T was the perfect partner for Clive. When his contract with the ringing unit (now known more prosaically as SAFRING) came to an end, Clive’s African upbringing and expertise in weaver ecology, ringing and migration studies made him well qualified for a position within the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO). The project, based in Chad, involved research and control measures on Red-billed Quelea Quelea quelea across much of northern and western Africa. This species, regarded as the world’s most numerous undomesticated bird, causes extensive damage to cereal crops throughout semi-arid zones of sub-Saharan Africa.
It was no surprise that when Clive left Cape Town for Chad in 1975 to take up his FAO post, M-T went with him and they married that year in a simple ceremony in Ndjamena. At that time, Chad was relatively stable and the Elliotts enjoyed their years there; an added bonus was the fine food available due to the French military presence. Clive’s quelea work involved extensive travel across the region, but he found time to indulge in another of his great passions – tennis. The French had built some tennis courts in Ndjamena and the military organised a men’s singles tournament with an impressive trophy awarded to the champion. Highly competitive, Clive entered each year, ultimately winning the cup. Shortly after his triumph in 1978, Chad descended into chaos as civil war again broke out. A hasty departure for expatriates was organised and Clive liberated the trophy for safe keeping in his Oxfordshire home; he remains the reigning champion of the (lapsed) Chad Open tennis tournament.
From Chad, the Elliotts moved to Arusha in Tanzania, where Clive took up a new FAO position, again working on quelea, this time involving extensive fieldwork throughout eastern Africa. In 1981, my wife and I accompanied Clive and his colleague John Beesley (of Beesley’s Lark Chersomanes beesleyi fame) on a quelea research trip to Lake Natron. Clive’s wry humour in designing the logo that adorned his Land Rover greatly amused the Masai people; under Swahili wording ‘Mradi Wa Quelea’ (Project Quelea), it showed two dead queleas on their backs with their feet in the air. Clive’s extensive field-based research on Red-billed Quelea across most of its African range resulted in a number of publications and a seminal book, which he co-authored with an FAO colleague (Bruggers & Elliott 1989). After several years in Arusha, Clive moved to other FAO-funded positions, firstly in Karen, Kenya (1986-89), and later in Rome at the FAO headquarters, where he was based until retirement in 2006. After leaving Africa, Clive’s FAO work was far less focused on quelea as he was also responsible for dealing with other migrant pests, including locusts. In a somewhat downhearted letter to me from Rome in 1995, Clive bemoaned the fact that his work was increasingly taking him away from birds to work on ‘bees, locusts, armyworm, and plagues of everything except biblical blisters...’. He also regretted his limited opportunities to ‘disappear back to the African bush...’, and described his position as Senior Migratory Pests Officer as ‘sounding like an itinerant grey-bearded rat-catcher.’ His comments reflected his self-deprecation. Clive regularly returned to Africa whenever he could and is remembered within the FAO as being a very positive force maintaining the profile of quelea, locusts and armyworm whenever “donor-fatigue” set in or a locust upsurge in need of control started.
Although frustrated in Rome, Clive’s intermittent field trips for locust control work – often emergencies at very short notice - took him to ever more exotic places including Eritrea, Mauritania, the Sudan, Oman, and even Tajikistan. In a letter to me after the first of his several trips to Eritrea, he wrote about his experience of standing in the middle of a vast locust swarm. ‘They made even the biggest flock of quelea look like peanuts, if you can imagine that... half a field crop was eaten in front of my eyes, before we sprayed them and produced up to 300 dead locusts per m2’. This was quite a statement – in another letter to me a few years earlier Clive had estimated that there were 67 million queleas in Tanzania.
For Clive and M-T living in Rome had many consolations, including the proximity of their sons, Ivo and Nico, who were educated in the UK, and Clive’s annual visits to the Wimbledon Lawn Tennis Championships. Driving his British racing green Morgan sports car to work in Rome from their farmhouse home, Clive enjoyed hearing shouts of ‘Che bella macchina’ from appreciative Italian car buffs. With his sharp mind and even sharper tongue, Clive was intolerant of fools and had little time for those he considered pompous or illogical. But he also had a tremendous sense of humour, which was not always appreciated by all. In his final years at the FAO in Rome, he took a couple of days off work for minor surgery to remove several harmless lesions from his face that had resulted from years of exposure to the African sun. Returning to work with an impressive array of stitches across his forehead, Clive casually informed his horrified colleagues that he had undergone major brain surgery.
After moving back to Oxford in 2006, Clive undertook several projects for the FAO and as a consultant to EU-funded projects on quelea led by Bob Cheke of the Natural Resources Institute, University of Greenwich, including field training courses and research on trapping methods (Elliott et al. 2014) in Tanzania and Botswana. He wrote a book that documented the fifty-year history of the Desert Locust Control Organization activities in Eastern Africa (Elliott 2012) and co-authored another on the work of the FAO Commission for Controlling the Desert Locust in South-West Asia during 1964-2014 (Cressman & Elliott 2014). Clive became actively involved in several clubs and societies, including the Oxford Ornithological Society (of which he was President), the Tristan da Cunha Association, the British Trust for Ornithology, and the African Bird Club. He was also a life member of BirdLife South Africa. In retirement Clive and M-T continued to travel widely to remote parts of the world pursuing their interests in wildlife, photography, and snorkelling in tropical seas. At his home in South Leigh, Oxfordshire, Clive resumed bird ringing, specifically of Tree Sparrows Passer montanus that nested in increasing numbers in the boxes that he and a group of fellow enthusiasts placed in an area of west Oxfordshire. He was an active member of the North Oxford Lawn Tennis Club, regularly taking part in team matches until shortly before his fatal illness.
Clive succeeded as the 4th Baronet Elliott of Limpsfield, Surrey on the death of his father in 1989. He is survived by Marie-Thérèse, his devoted wife of 43 years, their sons Ivo and Nico, and four grandchildren. His passing brings to an end the rich and colourful life of an English gentleman ornithologist whose heart lay in Africa, and whose friendship was greatly valued by the many diverse people whose lives he had enriched over the years.