We were greatly saddened to hear of the recent death of Anne Gray, a staunch Princess Vlei Forum supporter who was very active in our Flight of Dreams programme. Anne helped to rally members of the Cape Bird Club to introduce scores of school children to the wonderful birdlife of Princess Vlei, and was always on hand with ideas, energy and enthusiasm. Below is a comment on her remarkable contribution to bird conservation from Cape Bird Club member, Gavin Lawson. Gavin also supplied the photographs.
Anne Gray was a long standing member of the Cape Bird Club. She was from the old school where whatever was tackled had to be done properly. She was one of the few people who was capable of seeing the big picture and she saw all the fine detail as well and knew how to pull it all together. She did not take no for an answer if she knew it could be done.
In her life time she must have made hundreds of thousands of phone calls to people requesting input, help, sponsorship, time, effort, whatever was needed. She had a mental list of what was required to make an event successful and made sure all the boxes were ticked before. There was always a plan B if things went pear shaped too.
Anne was responsible for many projects in the CBC, including organising Kirstentbosch Bird Walks for the Centenary which have continued because of their popularity. She always made sure there was a CBC stand at the YES programmes for years, and represented the CBC at the Cape Wetlands Forum.
Anne was hugely committed to getting communities and school children interested and involved in bird conservation. She co-ordinated and drove the new Flamingo Bird Club (FBC) in Philippi, an outreach programme to engage local communities. She helped to raise money for planting fynbos at the Oasis Centre in Philippi, where the FBC was based, and she represented the FBC in the Princess Vlei Forum.
Her efforts extended beyond the bird club, and she also fundraised for the Street Soccer World Championships which got the Cape Town team to the championships. She also raised funds for
the hides and boardwalks at the West Coast National Park.
She ran a company taking visitors into the ocean to observe pelagic birds. This was a challenge, as the unpredictable weather often led to trips being cancelled. Through this project, she became known as Anne Albatross, and she enabled tourists from all over the world to experience our sea birds with the top local bird guides. Anne's tireless energy and enthusiasm will be sadly missed, but will live on in the hundreds of young recruits who discovered birds through her.