Memorial honour for ‘Warrior of Wath Ings’

'Warrior of Wath Ings' Harold Crookes.
'Warrior of Wath Ings' Harold Crookes.

A WILDLIFE enthusiast dubbed the ‘Warrior of Wath Ings’ is to be remembered with a bird-watching hide in his memory.

Harold Crookes fought a long campaign to safeguard Wath Ings against the threat of development and misuse.

He died last year aged 90 but his contribution will be recognised on Saturday, July 9, when a memorial will be unveiled at a bird-watching hide at the Ings.

Harold’s relationship with the site, now part of RSPB Old Moor nature reserve, began when it was just a pool of water, hidden in one of Europe’s biggest coal-marshalling yards.

For years, he and other enthusiasts had enjoyed watching the birds that used the open water to feed and rest during migration.

By 1975, the campaigners secured the future of Wath Ings as a Local Nature Reserve, after lobbying local interest groups and protecting the site from disturbance.

Julia Makin, RSPB visitor experience officer, said: “Harold’s achievements show us that individuals can make a real difference to the natural environment that we all share.

“Not everyone needs to do what Harold did - but a little passion and enthusiasm for nature goes a long, long way.

“Even small steps for nature make a difference and lots of small steps make a huge difference.”