Botanist and broadcaster David Bellamy has died aged 86, the Conservation Foundation he formed has said.
The Conservation Foundation is greatly saddened to announce the death on 11th December 2019 of Professor David Bellamy OBE, our co-founder and President. The Foundation was very special to David and he was very special to us. pic.twitter.com/N4FJjE7iRC
— The Conservation Foundation (@ConservationFdn) December 11, 2019
London-born Bellamy, who became a household name as a TV personality, scientist and conservationist, died on Wednesday, according to the foundation.
His colleague, David Shreeve, described him as a “larger-than-life character” who “inspired a whole generation”.
In later life Bellamy, who lived in County Durham, attracted criticism for dismissing global warming.
In 2004 he described it as “poppycock” – a stance which he later said cost him his TV career.
Bellamy worked in a sweet factory and as a plumber before embarking on his broadcasting career.
His scientific began when he got a job in the biology department of a technical college in Surrey, he told BBC Radio 4’s Desert Island Discs programme in 1978.
It was there that he met his future wife and mother of their five children, Rosemary.
But it was on a trip to Scotland where he discovered his love for plants, he told the programme.
“I got really turned on by plants and I found out that if somebody told me what a plant was, I just couldn’t forget it,” he said.
In a late-1980s TV ad Bellamy highlighted the need to eradicate old man’s beard (Clematis vitalba). The plant is a serious threat to native bush:
He gained public recognition for his work as an environmental consultant over the Torrey Canyon oil spill, when a tanker was shipwrecked off the coast of Cornwall in 1967.
He went on to present programmes such as Don’t Ask Me, Bellamy On Botany, Bellamy’s Britain, Bellamy’s Europe and Bellamy’s Backyard Safari.
And in 1979 he won Bafta’s Richard Dimbleby Award, for best presenter of factual programmes.
His distinctive voice also inspired comedian Sir Lenny Henry’s catchphrase “grapple me grapenuts”.
In more recent years, Bellamy was criticised for his views on global warming.
In 2003, he told BBC News that he was sceptical about mankind being responsible for rising temperatures and suggested that they might be part of the Earth’s natural cycles.
He said: “We have got to get this thing argued out in public properly and not just take one opinion.”
Ten years later, he told the Independent newspaper: “It (global warming) is not happening at all, but if you get the idea that people’s children will die because of CO2 they fall for it.”
Well-known figures have paid tribute to Bellamy, including comedy writer and fellow broadcaster Danny Baker, who described him as a “truly brilliant and canny broadcaster”.
Good Morning Britain presenter Piers Morgan said Bellamy was a “brilliant naturalist, broadcaster & character”, in a tribute posted on Twitter.
The Walking Dead actor David Morrissey tweeted that Bellamy “cared about nature and our environment deeply.”
And former England footballer Stan Collymore called him a “childhood icon”, adding that he “learnt about botany and shrubs and trees as a kid because of this man’s love and infectious enthusiasm.”
Bellamy’s wife Rosemary, with whom he had five children, died last year.
We’re so sad to hear of the passing of David Bellamy who has a special place in our hearts. In 2008 he opened our Evolution Collection and stole the show with his infectious passion for plants; he was so excited to see a new botanic garden, here he is making everyone shout ‘wow’! pic.twitter.com/TKbNcVEbFe
— Bristol Botanic (@BrisBotanicGdn) December 11, 2019
David Bellamy- unmistakable voice , looks, and character. Made for TV! But also a first class naturalist, with boundless skills to convey his enthusiasm. Maybe too much for the purists, but loved by millions. I was once mistaken for him. Not sure either of us was flattered!
— Bill Oddie Official (@BillOddie) December 11, 2019
RIP David Bellamy, a legend pic.twitter.com/fbKpQvvcWm
— James Martin (@jamesmartinchef) December 11, 2019
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