Tributes to a man who helped his home town

Alan Davison pictured during a survey of Bluebell Woods in Morpeth. He was heavily involved in a project to make them more accessible.
Alan Davison pictured during a survey of Bluebell Woods in Morpeth. He was heavily involved in a project to make them more accessible.

Tributes are being paid to a highly-regarded Morpeth resident.

Alan Davison was a professor of environmental biology at Newcastle University and when he retired, he provided his expertise to help various projects in the town.

He was a member of many local organisations and together with Brian Harle, they updated Alec Tweddle’s Morpeth Town Trails and wrote regular local history articles in the Herald, among many other things.

The 78-year-old died of mesothelioma, a type of cancer, on Tuesday, August 16.

Many people were unaware that he was born in Berkeley, California. Shortly after his birth, it was clear that war would soon be declared in Europe and his parents, Harry and Margaret, returned to Ashington in 1939 to be close to family.

Alan went to school at Morpeth Grammar School (later King Edward VI School) and he excelled in all areas of the curriculum.

He went to Newcastle University in the late 1950s, gaining a first class degree in botany. He then moved to Sheffield to study for his PhD.

After this, though he wished to work away, he could not resist an offer of a permanent job at Newcastle University.

Alan was devoted to his family: Carole, his wife, who he met in Newcastle, and his children, Angus and Rachel. He also absolutely loved spending time with his four grandchildren.

Despite being involved in many projects after retiring in 2003, there was more time to go travelling with Carole – places visited included South Africa, New Zealand, Scandinavia and Argentina.

Doug Phillips, Greater Morpeth Development Trust chairman, said: “Alan was someone who held Morpeth very dear to his heart and he had an almost encyclopaedic knowledge of so many aspects of life in the town, especially its history and heritage.

“Two important aspects of our work as centre around heritage and environment and he willingly shared his knowledge, expertise and time to help us.

“One project which immediately springs to mind is the work we did together to make Bluebell Woods more accessible and appreciated by local people.

“Alan will be a great miss to the town and our sympathies and condolences go out to his family.”

His funeral will take place on Tuesday from 11.30am at Cowpen Crematorium, Blyth. Donations in lieu of flowers can be made to Macmillan Cancer Support, including online at www.justgiving.com/fundraising/AlanWDavison