IT is with great sadness that the BRFC have learnt of the passing of Alwyne “Wyn” Wheeler who for many years was its Scientific Advisor. He died recently aged 76, after a long illness patiently borne.

 

Alwyne was a highly acclaimed ichthyologist who worked, until his retirement, at the Natural History Museum in London where he has special responsibility for European Fishes, but even then his interest and reputation was such that he continued on an informal basis for many more years.

 

He was recognised as the definitive authority on fish species and was the author of many comprehensive books and his classic book “Key to the fishes of Northern Europe” became a bible for all those who have an interest in fish species within Northern Europe and beyond. 

 

He joined the BRFC in 1975 under the chairmanship of Bob Page and retained a keen interest in the committee, long after he officially retired, and had the distinction of chairing his last meeting due to the unavailability of  Bob on October 21st 2001.  During his time as scientific advisor, he identified hundreds of fish and established many new marine species on the record list.  He was never happier than when talking seriously about fish and in particular when a new species was caught in British waters.

 

He was well respected, a man of total integrity and many will remember him for his brave statement made in 1997,  following his  research into all the record claims to that date for the Crucial Carp (Carassius carassius).  He advised that having carried out new research during which he discovered new evidence, all records awarded to that date were not Crucian Carp (Carassius carassius), but rather Brown Goldfish (Carassius auratus).  He knew that this would be unpopular with some, but such was his integrity, he was prepared to accept criticism in the interests of the credibility of the British List and in the event such was his reputation, his decision was not queried and he is highly respected to this day for that decision.

 

All those who had the honour of working with him will long remember his kindness and old fashioned principles and remember him with fondness.

 

His funeral will, take place this Thursday 7th July at Stevenage Crematorium at 11 am,  The family have requested that there be no black ties and family flowers only, but that any donations be sent to The Alzheimer’s Society, at 10 Greencoat Place, Gordon House, London, SW1p 1PH.

 

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