Sydney Long Medal awarded to county fungi recorder

Thursday 19 November, 2020

Norfolk's most prestigious award for naturalists, the Sydney Long Memorial Medal has been awarded to Dr Tony Leech, the county recorder for fungi, in recognition of his outstanding contribution to the promotion of conservation. 

The medal was presented during NWT’s Annual General Meeting on Thursday 19 November. It is awarded jointly by NWT and the Norfolk and Norwich Naturalists' Society every two years for an outstanding contribution to the county's natural history.

Nick Acheson, Wildlife Ambassador of Norfolk Wildlife Trust who presented the medal said: “Tony Leech is a rare thing indeed: an enthusiast, an expert and a brilliant communicator, all in one. While his general knowledge of natural history is huge and forever growing, he has devoted himself to the study of fungi, serving for many years as our County Recorder. Through this role he has nurtured and encouraged literally thousands of mycologists, from little children on his fungus forays to eminent experts. For an equal number of years he has lent his time and passion both to Norfolk and Norwich Naturalists' Society and Norfolk Wildlife Trust. There is not a single naturalist in Norfolk - and I say this advisedly - who has not in some way benefited from Tony's love of our county's wildlife. He is the embodiment of the legacy of Sydney Long.”

Chairman of the Norfolk and Norwich Naturalists' Society, Carl Chapman added: “The Norfolk and Norwich Naturalists' Society and the Norfolk Wildlife Trust begat from the same stock and have the same desires to protect the wildlife in our great county of Norfolk. It is so important that both organisations support one another in research and conservation so that wildlife will be around for our children, and our children's children. The awarding of the Sydney Long Medal is a testament to Tony's involvement in that process and collaboration. A well-deserved reward.”

On receiving the medal, Tony Leech said: “I am honoured to receive the medal and having it presented to me at Norfolk Wildlife Trust’s Thursford Wood was a bonus. I feel very strongly that the natural world is for everybody and there are so many ways that we can enjoy it. We can make lists, we can pit our wits against evolution and try and identify species, or we can take photographs of plants, animals and fungi. Or we could just say wow, when we see a tree in its autumn glory!”

The medal is awarded in recognition of Dr Sydney Long, founder of the Norfolk Naturalists Trust in 1926, now the Norfolk Wildlife Trust, who died in 1939.
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