It is with great sadness that we report that one of our long-standing members and practical volunteers, Malcolm Hopton, died recently.
Malcolm and his wife moved to Derbyshire in 1970. As newcomers to the area they decided to visit Derby Museum where they spotted a poster advertising the Trust which they soon joined. However it wasn’t long before Malcolm started volunteering on the nature reserves nearby, ultimately becoming the Volunteer Reserves Manager for Carver’s Rocks and Hilton Gravel Pits nature reserves and remaining as volunteer manager at the latter for 25 years until 2006.
As well as helping out on the ground, Malcolm was also involved in a number of our committees. In 1980, he was a founder member of the West Derby local members group of the trust and later became its chairman and treasurer.
He had been a member of the trust’s council and its conservation committee, chairing the latter for some time, during which he set himself the challenge of visiting all of the DWT reserves in the county.
A passionate bird watcher and amateur naturalist, Malcolm led on a number of initiatives including establishing bird feeders throughout the winter months, helping conserve the counties dwindling tree sparrow population and working to provide more bat habitats in the area. Malcolm was one of the joint founder members with Roy Branson of Derbyshire Bat Conservation Group, which was formed as part of DWT in 1984. After it split from the DWT in 1994 and became the Derbyshire Bat Group, Malcolm remained on the committee for many years and held the Treasurer and Recorder roles before finally stepping down in 2016. He joined the Derbyshire Ornithological Society’s committee in 1996 and took on the post of Conservation Officer before becoming Treasurer in 2005, a role he held until his death.
An unassuming and friendly person, Malcolm was popular with all the staff and volunteers who had the pleasure of working with him. He was definitely a do-er, always quick to crack on with the next task and lead from the front with a can-do approach. He was always happy to share his knowledge and insights with others, offering so much excellent advice on the species and habitats he had become such an expert in and inspired many people to do more themselves for wildlife.
He will be greatly missed by so many people and we offer our sincere condolences to his wife and family.
The wildlife of Derbyshire has lost a great friend and champion as have we at Derbyshire Wildlife Trust.