Bob and Di
Bob and Di Dark
By the time this is published Bob and Di Dark (on the right of this picture) will be in Yorkshire closer to their family and no doubt benefitting the local group there in the same way that they have done for all the groups in our area. We first came across them at the Bristol Conference when we still lived in Weston-super-Mare and were involved with the Bristol Group. They then, in spite of already being involved with two local groups, were at the first, preliminary meeting of the Somerset Group and became founder members. Since then they have been amongst our most active members with Di on the Plant Sales and Bob twisting our arms to buy raffle tickets (which they always provided themselves). Needless to say they were regular suppliers of plants for the raffle and for sale especially while they were still running the nursery. They hardly ever missed a meeting including outings and parties until recently during Bob’s illness following the operation. He will hopefully make a full recovery from this. Nothing was ever too much trouble for them.
Of course we also know them as the organisers of the AGS South West Show mainly run by the Exeter Group but with more of us getting involved in recent years. We have always thought this was a model of how to run a show and the number of Nurseries wishing to sell at the show is a testament to its success in drawing in the public. Sue and I also have a more personal knowledge of their organisational abilities through being involved on occasions with the display at the Axe Vale Festival. Bob had a remarkable ability to think up new ideas for displays and the ability to produce the structures for the staging. His great skill in producing, for example, an alpine house or realistic rocks from broken polystyrene made for some extraordinary displays. The polystyrene crevice garden was thought by the public to be made of real rocks. It is seen here with Bob working on it.
Both Bob and Di have a real eye for detail so plants donated by members were somehow arranged into a unified display and, thanks to Di were all labelled the same even when labels had to be made late in the night before the Festival opened and put in place in the morning. Di (in the picture on the right) also produced some really good hand-outs for the displays. This was just one more example of their dedication to and passion for alpines. We are going to miss their hard work, enthusiasm, generosity and never failing cheerfulness. It is always said that no-one is irreplaceable but I think we have to make an exception in this case. It has been a privilege to have had them as members of the group and we hope they will have many happy years in Yorkshire with the family.