Rosemary Marshall 1941-2019

It is with great sadness that we have to inform you that our President, ROSEMARY MARSHALL passed peacefully away at home on the 28th March  2019.  The loss of her leaves a gap in all our lives.
I first met Rosemary in 2010 whilst counting wild daffodils in the woods at West Dean.  It soon became clear that we shared a love for West Sussex which brought us closer together through working with local groups and societies.
In 2011 Mike Perry rotated out as Chairman, Rosemary was elected to take his place, and I joined a very vibrant and active committee as Winter Speaker Meeting Secretary.  Rosemary set about implementing changes to improve and enhance the opportunities offered to our membership.  As Jill Sutcliffe remembers: 

When I think of Rosemary, I see a wise owl and a gem of a person, with a broad smile and a great sense of humour.  Generally, she preferred to stay in the background and lead from the rear - but her influence and determination was legion.  For five years she chaired the Society, bringing a steady hand on the tiller, together with innovation of new ideas.  The introduction of the monthly Winter Pub Lunch was one of her ideas, enabling a smaller keen group to explore a specific topic in more depth.  In 2013 the RSPB was poised to take over management of the Medmerry coastal realignment as the Environment Agency  completed their work.  I suggested that CNHS might be in a position to carry out some monitoring from the beginning, as the sea was allowed in and a new site started emerging.  Rosemary responded in her characteristically positive way, and thus began the Society’s involvement in this exciting project.  She had an infinite flair for teasing out the full implications of key issues without raising hackles.  She was always learning, always open to new ideas and had a firm commitment to working together. The Society has been a beneficiary of her way of doing things and she will be much missed.

This work continues in the capable hands of John and Philippa Arnott and the team at Medmerry.   Rosemary was actively involved in supporting other closely associated organisations, and the Weald & Downland Living Museum staged a Countryside Fayre which the CNHS attended.  Diana Zeuner recalls:

Rosemary was undoubtedly an extraordinary person.  When I met her on an RSPB Chichester Group field trip, I realised I had often seen her before, manning a CNHS stand at the Weald & Downland Living Museum (where my late husband had been museum director).  I joined Chi Nats when she recruited me! Then there were the trips to Guernsey and The Isles of Scilly, so ably organised by Denise, with Rosemary acting as her lieutenant!  She was also a ‘horse' person and with my interest in Heavy Horses through the magazine I produce, there was always plenty to chat about, including the delights of the Shetland pony in the field  at the North Wall, Pagham.  Alongside her depth of knowledge and interest, Rosemary had a great sense of humour and was liable to turn a conversation down a new avenue with a chance remark which had everyone laughing.  We will all miss her terribly.

The Society was fortunate to inherit two legacies during Rosemary’s time as Chair, and with one of the projects chosen by the membership, she worked closely alongside Philippa Arnott on a schools education programme.  Philippa has written:

I first met Rosemary at a Chi Nets meeting.  When she later became Chair, I joined her as Secretary and we worked together for five years.  I have always admired her immense energy and commitment to the causes she was passionate about.  When the Society received another legacy, I backed Rosemary’s fervent wish to see some of it used to encourage children to get back to Nature. To this end Rosemary produced a list of primary schools in the area and three were selected, all recommended by Chi Nats members. The idea was to offer the schools the chance to buy natural history equipment to encourage the children to learn about wild life and their environment. Rosemary, determined to do what she could, ensured that the schools were offered nest boxes, pots for pollinators and a great list of support equipment so that the children could participation in every aspect of maintaining animal houses, a Minibeast Mansion and much more.\I feel privileged to count Rosemary as a dear friend and will always remember with great fondness the times we had together.

In 2017 Rosemary’s close friend and associate John Herring retired, and she was elected to take his place as President. She remained in this post for the rest of her life.
Up to the time of her death, Rosemary remained vitally involved with our Society, and we are indebted to her for her strength and tenacity in keeping CNHS as strong as it is today.  She was content in the knowledge that it was ‘in a safe pair of hands’ when she handed the reins to our present chairman, Dr Christian Hance.  We will all remember Rosemary in our own ways.  Mine include counting dragonflies and grasshoppers at Medmerry, observing Purple Emperor butterflies and Bumble bees on the Knepp Estate, waiting for nightjars at Stedham, or listening to the Nightingales at Pulborough Brooks.    Her warmth, friendliness and ability to reach many people on all levels remains her legacy, and I leave the last words of this tribute to Rosemary herself - taken from ‘Fifty Years of Nature’ CNHS 1963-2013;


Nevertheless, with a steady membership of around 175, a new home at The Pallant Suite and much goodwill, our remarkable institution should provide rewarding experience for both novice and expert naturalists in the years ahead.        Rosemary Marshall, Chair.

Rest in peace, dear friend.  Our lives have been enriched for having  known you.                                                 
Denise Bowerman.April 2019

The funeral on May 3rd at Worthing Crematorium was well atttended by many members and and proved to be a memorable occasion with words, poems and music to celebrate Rosemary's life.



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Book Loan Scheme

As we is accumulating a selection of books for use of our members it was thought that someone ought to be in charge of their care and distribution.  We now have 3 copies of Collins Wildflower Guide which will be of particular use to Medmerry surveyors and a Flora of Sussex.  To begin with I will keep all the books and can bring them to the indoor meetings.  However, they will mostly be needed in the spring and summer when we do not have indoor meetings.  Therefore, if anyone would like to borrow a book on a 4 week loan they can contact me and arrange either to collect the book from me or to meet somewhere mutually convenient.  There will be a signing out sheet so I can keep tabs on the books and make sure they are back in time for the next borrower.  A full list of titles will be available once I have all the books.
I do hope members will take the opportunity to use these books and find them useful.

Philippa Arnott               01243 575345             07840 859122    


We have purchased some promotional lapel badges and  car stickers to advertise our existence. They can be obtained at lecture evenings at £1 for a badge and a car sticker.


For a copy of the current Newsletter - Number 194  May 2019 click here

Deadline for articles for Newsletter 194 is 21 September  2019



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