Save our butterflies

We catch up with Neil Hulme: Chairman and Conservation Officer in West Sussex to find out about conservation plans for Sussex butterflies...

Neil Hulme: Chairman and Conservation Officer, West Sussex (pictured right)

I've been passionate about butterflies since childhood and inherited my interest from my father. The best days in the field are still those spent in his company. I have fond memories of our regular family outings to the New Forest, Shropshire and Welsh coast, as well as to every corner of my favourite county, Sussex. Fortunately my mother was remarkably tolerant, as yet another army of hawkmoth caterpillars denuded the garden hedge each school summer holiday.

My career as an oil industry micropalaeontologist meant many years 'in exile' on the northeast coast of Scotland, where butterflies were all-too-few. A further spell of seven years based in London, but living the majority of my life on oil rigs and platforms, did little to improve the situation. I was delighted to move back 'home'.

I joined Butterfly Conservation in 1996 and it was getting to know the likes of Jim Steedman and David Dancy that furthered my interest, particularly in the pressing issue of conservation. I joined the BC branch committee in 2006, initially as Assistant Conservation Officer to Graham Parris.

I am honoured to take over the Chair from my predecessor Roy Neeve and, along with my fellow committee members, will do everything possible to safeguard the future of butterflies and moths in Sussex. How things have changed since those carefree summer days of the early 1970s. Your support for Butterfly Conservation is not only gratefully received, it is vital to our efforts.