Collecting the folklore and uses of plants

Hilary Belcher (1929-2017)

In March 2017 we reported the death of Hilary Belcher, who ‘had been a steadfast supporter of the  [Plant-lore] Archive for many years’.  The most recent part of The Phycologist (the newsletter of the British Phycological Society), no. 93, Autumn 2017, contains a tribute to Hilary, compiled by Jennifer Bryant,  a Scientific Associate at the Natural History Museum, with input from many of Hilary’s colleagues.

These include accounts of her work, usually with her professional and domestic partner Erica Swale, on freshwater algae and her encouragement of younger workers on this group, her interest in folklore including her many contributions to FLS News, and the many varied articles which she and Erica contributed to Nature in Cambridgeshire between 1980 and 2013.   She was also ingenious and creative, inventing an easily assembled centrifuge handy for amateur microscopists, an able model-maker and skilled needlewoman.

We remember Hilary for her enthusiastic interest in plant folklore, and thank Jennifer (Jenny) Bryant for assembling the tribute.

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