I knew all three of them a little and admired each of them a lot. It would probably be difficult to think of three more disparate figures, and I am absolutely certain that the three of them were never in the same room together.
One a scientist and conservationist, with a strong love of dragonflies; another an Old Labour minister who blossomed in the environment department of the time and played a major role in getting lead shot banned in waterfowl shooting and a delay in the introduction of environmentally damaging GM crops; and a raptor enthusiast who inspired others with his love of and knowledge of nature, and his lack of patience for those who wilfully and illegally killed it.
These three figures illustrate that the ways that any of us can contribute to nature conservation are many and varied – indeed we need great people of all sorts and of all skills if we are to make progress. All can find a niche.
I knew Norman Moore far less well than the other two men mentioned here but I was struck by how others uniformly spoke of him with affection, respect and admiration. That says a lot.
Michael Meacher was a minister who did what he thought was right, rather than what was politically wise or expedient. He was the most independent minister I think I ever worked with and one of the ones who made the most impact because of that.
Mick Carroll was a big man and a big personality. It came as no surprise that he organised his own wake weeks before his death so that he could attend, nor that his plans for the afterlife are to haunt those who kill birds of prey. Keep busy, Mick!