Reader letter: Richard Williamson’s column was ‘most-anticipated element’ in Chichester Observer

Writes Dick Pratt, of Bosham Lane, Bosham

Richard Williamson in 2015; he has stopped his column with the Chichester Observer due to age and serious illness. Photograph: Kate Shemilt/ C131153-3
Richard Williamson in 2015; he has stopped his column with the Chichester Observer due to age and serious illness. Photograph: Kate Shemilt/ C131153-3

I was very sad to read that Richard Williamson is finally retiring from writing his column in your paper.

Frankly, it was the single most anticipated element in your newspaper which I lapped up week after week.

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I shall indeed purchase a copy of his forthcoming poetry volume. I found his knowledge of the natural habitat and humans’ relationship and cultural responses to nature through language and place names uniquely informative.

Richard Williamson at his home in 2018. Photograph: Steve Robards/ SR1831896

I was born and grew up in Bosham at a time when so many people had a close connection to the natural world that somehow has been largely lost.

Richard reminded me weekly of those connections, both in the Downs (my father’s family were from Singleton) and around the harbour from which my mother’s family drew their living.

The habitats that link Downs and the coast are under truly awful strain as a consequence of current planning policies.

I do hope that your excellent weekly paper can find someone to take up the challenge of our erstwhile equivalent of David Attenborough.

Richard, thank you for your unswerving devotion to our precious local natural environment.

Richard Williamson has stopped his column due to age and serious illness; his first poetry anthology Flights of The Mind (£3, Yew Tree Publishing) is available from Kim’s Bookshop, in Chichester and Arundel; Bookends of Emsworth; and the Henry Williamson Society (henrywilliamson.co.uk).

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