Tributes paid to 'remarkable' Fishbourne conservationist

Rod Stern opening Furnace Meadow at Ebernoe for Plantlife
Rod Stern opening Furnace Meadow at Ebernoe for Plantlife

Tributes have been paid to a ‘remarkable’ conservationist and forester.

Rod Stern, from Fishbourne, died aged 90 from Parkinson’s on January 4.

His wife of 40 years, Vanessa Stern said: “He was such a modest and unassuming man. I thought it was a shame just to let it go by. He was well known and well respected.

“I have been married to him since 1979, a second marriage for both of us. It was a blind date. I knew a bit about the natural world but I learnt lots about it through time. He was very quiet studious and very serious in a way. A lovely sense of humour, but very serious and very into the natural world.”

Rod lived in the area since 1972 and was known across Sussex as a well respected Botanist and across the UK for his Bryological expertise. He also helped to found the conservation charity Plantlife.

A memorial service was held for Rod at Bosham Church on Friday January 25.

Speaking at the memorial service, Nick Sturt, chairman of the Sussex Botanical Recording Society called him a ‘remarkable man’

and said that he and other friend and colleagues would remember Rod as ‘radiant in his enthusiasm’ for all the work he did.

Rod was a South Eastern Forest Officer in the Forestry Commision until he retired in 1988.

Living in Fishbourne he became the tree warden responsible for much of the tree planting in the playing fields.

Rod spent the final six years of his life in a nursing home and Vanessa said she had that time to acclimatise to living alone. She added that the thing would she miss most about Rod would be going out with him on field meetings and going on botanical holidays with him.