Chalkstreams, Wandle, Writing

Remembering Sidney Vines

(Photo: Roy Eaton)

Amid the storm of positive publicity surrounding the launch of Trout in Dirty Places, a moment of sadness: news of the passing of Sidney Vines.

As a confidant of both Frank Sawyer and Oliver Kite, Sidney was a link to a genuinely vanished world, which he recorded authoritatively in Keeper of the Stream and Frank Sawyer: Man of the Riverside, as well as in his comprehensive multi-catchment-scale guide The English Chalk Streams.

More personally, he stood as best man at Sally’s grandparents’ wedding, and corresponded with me enthusiastically when I sent him copies of my early environmental writing.  He had already made a conscious decision not to engage with the online world – “I decided that I would spend too much time playing with the Internet and it would dominate my days. I am insatiably curious. So I have kept out of it!” – but he remained keenly alert to all the latest developments in river restoration on the Wandle and elsewhere, and strongly recommended getting in touch with Merlin Unwin for publication of my first book.

With deeply mixed emotions, I learned that he received his own copy of Trout in Dirty Places shortly before ascending to the great chalkstream in the sky, and I’ve just included some of my own favourite memories in this obituary for the Wandle Piscators’ website.

RIP, Sidney. Our earthly chalkstreams are the poorer for your passing.