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Somerset Birding News

The charity ‘The Kenneth Allsop Memorial Trust’, is offering a unique opportunity to join the board of this charity that owns and manages Steep Holm Island.

The Island has been inhabited on and off for centuries, is full of hidden surprises and is steeped in history. Steep Holm is close to the shores of Weston-Super-Mare and it sits proudly in the Bristol Channel, a hidden, yet exposed 63-acre gem, with its limestone cliffs and caves. The history of the Island is told by stories of Celtic gods carved in stone, Vikings and pirates, Monks. The military encampments of the recent past can still to be seen today, the Palmerston Fort and cannons of the 1860s in preparation for a Napoleon invasion, 1st and 2nd world war gun, ammunition and search light emplacements, military barracks and a historical museum.

Steep Holm is a nature reserve, bird sanctuary, and a Site of Special Scientific Interest due to its rare plants, including the May Flowering Wild Mediterranean Peony. As a charity, they seek to preserve and enhance the island’s natural beauty and landscape, together with its antiquities, wildlife and scientific interest for the public enjoyment and education of the wildlife.

It is an archaeological dream. Archaeologists have found prehistoric evidence, Roman remains, coins, rare glass.  An old priory and those who never left the island, whose graves were laid undisturbed for 100’s of years.

The Kenneth Allsop Memorial Trust was formed to perpetuate the memory of Kenneth Allsop, a remarkable pioneer journalist and conservationist who died in 1973.  The Trust was able to buy Steep Holm by public subscription in 1976.

It is seeking a new Chair of the Board of Trustees and a new Company Secretary.

They are keen to appoint people whose personal values align with the charity’s objectives and values. If you feel you can bring passion and enthusiasm to inspire more support and local membership, they welcome your application.

The following areas have been identified as desirable areas of expertise, they are particularly interested in recruiting to the Trust Board people with an interest in:

  • Conservation
  • Archaeology
  • Historical Military & Religion
  • Ornithology
  • Palaeontology
  • Education
  • Natural Science
  • Heritage
  • An interest in the Island of Steep Holm


A candidate briefing pack is available - please contact Sandy Hinks, Head of Charity Practice at Moon Executive Search on 01275 371 200 or email  Quoting reference: JN2133 TKAMT. For the Trust's advertisement, click here.

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As stated recently, this year's AGM will be held remotely, by Zoom. It will be held at 2 p.m. on Saturday 12th December.

Details of how to register will be posted on this website by the beginning of December.

In the meantime, the 2019 Financial Statement can be found here. Other AGM documents will be posted soon.

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We regret that, due to COVID-19,it has been necessary to cancel the Members' Day & AGM on 19th September. We will advise a revised date for the AGM (and format) in due course.

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Back in December 2018 we published information about a request for crowdfunding for a documentary on the Nightingale. Soon afterwards, we were able to report that the funding had been successful.

We are delighted to report that the film will be premiered at the 2020 Virtual Birdfair on Thursday 20th August.

The makers are also in the process of auctioning a piece of artwork created for the film, a one of a kind piece by street artist ATM called ‘The Nightingale & The Bomber’. They have added a nice little excerpt from the film telling the story behind the piece, which you can see here: The current bid stands at £3,000. The auction will end on Sunday 23rd August at 18:00.

The auction was launched on Friday morning on Chris Packham & Megan McCubbin’s show, The SIBC, which you can catch up on here:

There are still some prints left too, for those who may not have space for the original!

The film will appear here when launched:

Finally, a short behind the scenes interview on the creation of the film was shot, which will also be going live at the virtual Birdfair on Thursday 20th August, here: 

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In 2019 the Society donated a wildlife camera to the Hospice, so that children, parents and visitors can closely monitor the bird life using their garden feeders.

In response to the pressure that many charities are under, a national fundraising campaign has been launched, the 2.6 Challenge on 26th April (the same day that the London Marathon would have taken place). This campaign is supporting all UK charities and the Hospice is asking for support. The idea is to raise money by doing something around 2.6 or 26. Birders could perhaps organise a quiz with 26 bird related questions (pay to enter), bird watch for 26 minutes (ask for sponsorship) or just donate £2.60 or £26! A  target of £260 or even £2,600 could be set?

You can sign up to take part for Children’s Hospice South West with a Just Giving or Virgin Money Giving page here:

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Become a Member of Somerset Ornithological Society.