Yesterday at Harty Church, the funeral took place of one life's really nice guys - Steve Gordon from Elmley. Steve had been at Elmley for around 30 years, for many of them working for Kent Wool Growers and just helping out on the reserve but in recent years as the Elmley National Nature Reserve's farm manager, living in the bungalow to the right of the car park.
I first met Steve in 1984 when he joined the same badminton club as myself in Sheerness and together one weekend we won the Men's Doubles Plate in an all day badminton tournament that year. For many years after that we only bumped into each other occasionally when our paths between Elmley and The Swale NNR crossed. But for the last 10 years or so, once he had taken on the mantle of reserve manager at Elmley, and the Elmley Conservation Trust had also taken on responsibility for managing The Swale NNR, we got to see each other quite a bit again and worked together in the best interests of The Swale NNR.
Steve was a very fit guy who loved being fit and playing tennis, cycling and ski-ing and who had a wide circle of friends around Europe and it was a great tragedy last year when out of the blue, he was diagnosed with a tumour on the brain. Over the last year and a bit, despite an operation and intensive and sickening treatment Steve never gave in to the illness and pain and was out most days on the quad bike with Max his dog, until the last few months. His combined knowledge of reserve management, animal husbandry and wildlife, will be greatly missed at Elmley and hard to replace, and presumably, with his passing the reserve will now move on into a new era.
"he walked abroad in a shower of all his days" ..........dylan thomas