The Founders’ Story

David Bellamy met David Shreeve at the Marwell National Wildlife Fair on 27 September 1980. David Shreeve had brought along some disease resistant elms to plant and David Bellamy was there for the BBC. Bellamy was by then a household name as a result of his television programmes which began with his reports of the oil pollution caused by the Torrey Canyon shipwreck off the Cornish coast.

David Bellamy met David Shreeve at the Marwell National Wildlife Fair on 27 September 1980. David Shreeve had brought along some disease resistant elms to plant and David Bellamy was there for the BBC. Bellamy was by then a household name as a result of his television programmes which began with his reports of the oil pollution caused by the Torrey Canyon shipwreck off the Cornish coast.
The Marwell meeting introduced David Bellamy to the Elms Across Europe programme and got the two Davids talking about the possibility to setting up an organisation to encourage commercial sponsorship of the environment.
With help from the elm project’s sponsors Pitney Bowes, The Conservation Foundation was launched at the Institute of Directors in London and live on the BBC’s Pebble Mill at One programme.
David Bellamy could only spare a limited amount of time for the Foundation. As well as being President of almost 20 environmental organisations, Vice President of another ten and a trustee of 17 others, he was also writing over 30 books. But it was David’s 43 television programmes which made him world famous and sought after as a celebrity spokesman for all things environmental throughout the 80s and 90s.
He was also a prolific campaigner, gaining world-wide coverage for his arrest during a demonstration over the future of the Franklin River dam. Everyone fighting to save trees or nature reserves from the path of motorways all wanted his face on their campaign and their campaign on his T-shirt.
Thanks to his not-inconsiderable proportions, unconventional dress sense and ubiquitous media presence David Bellamy was instantly recognisable. He travelled the world continuously and no matter how far away in the remotest parts of the world he would be recognised – often by someone who then asked him for help.
Despite all the pressures over the years, David has continued to keep in touch with the Foundation and support our work. When anyone wants to contact him, they often turn to us.
David is an avid reader and collector of books and when the time came for him to downsize, many of his books and archives found a home in The Conservation Foundation library.
Explore our history