RSPB East Berks Local Group 1974 - 2018

A Brief History of the RSPB East Berks Local Group, Forty Years Plus

In 1974 the RSPB advertised in the local paper, Maidenhead Advertiser, a public meeting to be held to initiate the establishment of an RSPB Local Group based in Maidenhead.

The meeting was held in November 1974 under the chairmanship of Steve Cooke and Tony Hawkins.  Steve Cooke was an 18 year old waiting to go to Veterinary College. Tony Hawkins was the “Local Representative” for the RSPB in 1974 and held this position until 1981.

Steve Cooke became leader of the new group called the RSPB East Berkshire Local Group.

The original committee included:

  • Steve Cooke (Leader)
  • Tony Hawkins (RSPB Local Representative)
  • Bob Stockhausen
  • Bill Beglow
  • Cyril Britnell (deceased)
  • Malcolm Collier (deceased)
  • Mrs Lawrence (Secretary 1974 – 1976)

 Group Leaders with approximate dates of service:

  • 1974 – 75      Steve Cooke
  • 1975 – 86      Bob Stockhausen
  • 1986 – 88      Brian Clews
  • 1988 - 90       Jeremy Langham
  • 1990 – 94      Norman Christian (deceased)
  • 1994 – 98      Jeremy Langham
  • 1998 – 2002  Brian Clews
  • 2002 – 07      Ken Panchen
  • 2007 – 12      Gerry Studd
  • 2012 – 17      Mike Huddy
  • 2017 – 18      Ken Cottam
  • 2018 –           Kate Titford

Steve Cooke left the group in 1975 to go to Veterinary College.  He qualified and is now a partially-retired vet, currently with Kelperland Veterinary Practice in Fifield.

Bob Stockhausen took over as leader in 1975 and continued in this role until 1986.

Jeremy Langham joined the group in 1974 and became a committee member in 1975/76.  He was leader of the group for two separate periods.  In 1981 he succeeded Tony Hawkins as the RSPB Local Representative and still holds this position in 2014; however he has no official responsibilities unless the group ceases to exist.

David Fuller joined the group in 1974 and became a committee member in 1975/76.  He was Secretary of the group from 1976 – 1982 and at the end of each committee meeting David and Bob Stockhausen (leader) finished the meeting with the “Two Ronnies” sign-off line of “It’s goodbye from me and it’s goodbye from him”!

One other interesting item is that Ken Panchen, who joined the group in the early 1980s produced an occasional newsletter for some years in the 1990s.  Jeremy Langham wrote a series of articles for the newsletter titled “The Golden Years” describing the development of the group from 1974.  Copies of these articles are being sought, but unfortunately neither Ken nor Jeremy has copies.

Initially committee meetings were held in committee member’s homes and then moved to Maidenhead Library.

Indoor meetings were held at Cox Green School then at Desborough School and later the venues were varied to recognise the catchment area of the group – Marlow, Windsor, Bracknell and Maidenhead were the venues across each year.  Maidenhead Library also became a regular haunt. At some time in the 1990s meetings switched to High Street Methodist Church where meetings are still held today.  Indoor meeting attendance in the early days was to be envied!  80-100 attendees at each meeting

Outdoor meetings initially attracted 20 – 30.

Coach trips.  The first coach trip was in early May 1975 to Minsmere and the pick-up point in the early days was Maidenhead railway station approach.   At this time the coach trips attracted 40-50 people.

Group trips.  The first group trip was to Gibraltar Point in autumn 1975, the group still runs a trip to this destination each autumn.

Social Media.  The group established its website in 2002 and its facebook page in 2016.

Thanks go to the following people who have been the main source of information:  Brian Clews, Jeremy Langham, David Fuller, Tony Hawkins, Bob Stockhausen, Steve Cooke (and his mother Pam Cooke), Ken Panchen and Bill Beglow.

Ken Cottam


Names of those who served on committees

  • Steve Cooke
  • Tony Hawkins
  • Bob Stockhausen
  • Bill Beglow
  • Jackie Beglow
  • Cyril Britnell
  • Malcolm Collier
  • David Fuller
  • Ernie Allen
  • Mrs Lawrence
  • Eileen Dorney
  • Steve Bunce
  • Bill ? (from Dorney
  • Jeremy Langham
  • Brian Clews
  • Peter Gaines
  • Norman Christian
  • Carol Winder
  • Mike Burton
  • Jean ? (from Slough)
  • Ken Panchen
  • Martin Jaggers
  • Derek Tulley
  • Lin Matthews
  • Harry Matthews
  • John Francis
  • Barbara Condliffe
  • Colin Humphrey
  • Philip Ind
  • Dave Puddle
  • Cliff Brown
  • Les Finch
  • Ayla Paul
  • Maureen Wicks
  • Roger Wicks
  • Martin Britnell
  • Peter Press
  • Martin Finch
  • Peter Warren
  • Eva Cuddon
  • Les Cuddon
  • Richard Stainthorpe
  • Gareth Jones
  • Terry Finnigan
  • Brenda Finnigan
  • Jane Overall
  • Roy Alliss
  • Gerry Studd
  • Sandy Studd
  • Brian Reeve
  • Mike Huddy
  • Sue Huddy
  • Steve Williams
  • Ken Cottam
  • Sheila Cottam
  • Ken White
  • Jaqui Green
  • Sandra Vickers
  • John Shelton
  • Dave Pearson
  • Helen Pearson
  • Brian Boyland
  • Richard Dunnings
  • Peter Newbound
  • Chris Lamb 
  • Kate Titford

apologies for any I have inadvertently overlooked
Brian Clews


Page last modified 12-April-2017