When I joined the Cheshire Trust almost 29 years ago I think the first four words I heard were lan Fitch Cotterill Clough. Soon after that I first came here with lan. (Those four words were followed soon after by the words Dorothy Keeley, Mary Callison, Frances Thomas, Loma Thomas, Leslie Wheeldon and it is good that we are all here today.)
As far as we can make out we think lan was connected with Cotterill Clough from the 1950's, before the Cheshire Trust was formed in 1963 or Groups, including of course North Group, in 1966. lan was instrumental in forming North Group, in fact in the early days lan was North Group. He was its first Chairman for 7 years and then changed to be Recording Officer for the next 20 years. The Trust took over Cotterill Clough in 1964 and lan was Reserve Manager for 18 years and as we all know spent many happy hours here working, recording, organising other workers, and occasionally resting to enjoy a jacket potato, baked on the premises in the bonfire.
This is also an appropriate site for lan's tree because of its proximity to the Bollin, of which lan made a long term study and photographic record from 1962 to 1980.
I always regarded lan as a personal friend as well as someone who was a colleague in the Trust. He was a friend you could go to with any problem or for any sort of advice and he gave his wise council about the Trust or anything else. He was calm and peaceful, someone who poured oil on troubled waters if ever others were falling out.
lan was also interested in Family History and I see this as another Fitch Family Tree, planted in memory of lan and a tree that I hope his children and grand children and great grand children will visit. Studies of Family History usually go back in time to the ancestors; this tree will go forward in time and be with the descendants.
It seems to me very appropriate that the tree we plant for lan should be an oak tree; tall, stately, dignified, upright, thoroughly English, possessing a heart of oak. The oak tree supports more wildlife in and around it than possibly any other tree and this is appropriate as lan was so interested in all wildlife and not just in species but in their habitats and why they grew where they grew.
Like me I am sure you are all pleased and proud to be here at the planting of this tree to celebrate lan's life and to hand over now to Wendy and Christine.
27 November 1997