Doug Reynolds (centre back row) with current Chairman Ron Crompton (on Doug's left) and former Friends' Chairmen.
Photo by Max Lankester (2011)
We were sorry to hear of the passing of Doug Reynolds, a former Friends' chairman and a huge contributor to the activities of our organisation.
Born and bred in Tolworth, Douglas saw wartime service abroad with the RAF, became a councillor for Surbiton and then for Kingston, and with his wife Doris became the borough’s first Labour Mayor and Mayoress from 1974-75. It was through hearing a talk by Gerald Jameson-Green, a founder member and Chairman of the Friends, that Douglas became involved over 30 years ago. He himself served as Chairman from 1993-2000.
Doug was made an MBE in 2012 and here is his MBE citation:
Doug Reynolds was Chairman of the Friends of Richmond Park for over 6 years from 1993 until 1999 and again for 6 months in 1999/2000. Prior to that he was a member of the Committee for a number of years. He is now an honorary Vice-President of the Friends and remains an active attender at the charity’s Trustee meetings.
Doug’s special contribution to the Friends and to Richmond Park is threefold.
First, over the last 30 years, Doug has done more than anyone else to increase public knowledge of the special quality of Richmond Park and the need to protect it. He was one of the pioneers of the Friends’ public guided walks in the 1980s and later started the Friends’ talks about the Park to local groups, such as old people’s homes, schools, Rotary and similar clubs and at public meetings.
By the time Doug retired from “walks and talks” in 2010 he had led over 250 walks and given 485 talks. His presentations have conveyed his passion, enthusiasm and encyclopaedic knowledge of the Park and inspired a wide range of local people to support conservation of Richmond Park. A few months ago, at the request of local groups and in spite of his age, he started to give his talks again, aiming for a round 500.
Second, as Chairman of the Friends Doug steered it through some very difficult times, particularly a long period of challenge from a splinter group and intense local public debate and anger over plans to restrict traffic through Richmond Park. He maintained a balanced view of the issues and kept the Friends together. Without him, it is unlikely that the Friends – which now has over 2000 members – would have survived.
Third, Doug continues to contribute widely to the Friends. When the Park Visitor Centre opened in 2007, Doug was one of the first group of Friends’ volunteers to staff it. He also writes articles in our quarterly newsletter, helps at local fairs and gives his talks. At 91 he is an inspiration to many others among our 150 volunteers.
Doug’s contribution has been recognised by the Friends (by the planting of a tree in the Park), The Royal Parks agency, which manages Richmond Park and the Royal Parks Guild. In our 40 page History of the Friends a full page describes his contribution to the Friends and to Richmond Park.