Page last updated at 17:55 GMT, Friday, 7 August 2009 18:55 UK

Brownsea wildlife champion dies

Helen Brotherton CBE
Miss Brotherton persuaded the people of Poole to help buy Brownsea Island

A wildlife champion from Dorset has died at the age of 95.

Helen Brotherton CBE was the founder of Dorset Wildlife Trust and was its president until she died in Poole Hospital on Thursday.

She was responsible for securing the future of Brownsea Island in Poole Harbour by helping the trust to buy it.

She was described as "a pioneer of nature conservation" and "an extremely active helper and advisor in all areas of [the trust's] work".

Simon Cripps, chief executive of Dorset Wildlife Trust, said: "This is the end of an era.

"Miss Brotherton was an exceptional lady who achieved so much in her long and eventful life."

Island legacy

In 1961, when the National Trust had the opportunity to take on Brownsea Island, Miss Brotherton persuaded the people of Poole to pledge money to help secure the island's future.

She formed Dorset Naturalists' Trust - now Dorset Wildlife Trust - to manage the wildlife on half of the island alongside the National Trust.

Chris Thain, manager of the Brownsea Island nature reserve, said: "Helen Brotherton's most triumphant legacy is Brownsea Island itself.

"She was a remarkable lady and I was very privileged to know and work with her.

"Her passion for Dorset's wildlife, enthusiasm for Brownsea Island and vast knowledge will be greatly missed."

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