LARGER-than-life TV botanist Professor David Bellamy who died yesterday has been remembered by a South Lakeland based conservation charity.

Cumbria Wildlife Trust said it is "deeply saddened" by news of the death of Prof Bellamy, scientist, author, broadcaster, environmental campaigner and botanist.

In a statement it said that Prof Bellamy is warmly remembered by members, staff and volunteers for his wonderful support for wildlife conservation, his charisma and his enormous generosity in giving so much of his own time to support its work in Cumbria.

Prof Bellamy was patron of Cumbria Wildlife Trust and president of The Wildlife Trusts from 1995 to 2005. He had a renowned reputation as an expert on peatlands and was very fond of Cumbria where many of the England’s best peatlands are found.

When in 1998 Cumbria Wildlife Trust purchased Meathop Moss, an internationally important peatbog near Grange-over-Sands, Prof Bellamyenthusiastically opened the new reserve. Hundreds of people turned out to help celebrate and catch a glimpse of him.

Stephen Trotter, chief executive of Cumbria Wildlife Trust, said: “David Bellamy was an inspiration to a generation of nature conservationists. He worked tirelessly, with great humour and boundless energy, to promote the better understanding of the natural environment everywhere.

"David's enthusiasm was infectious and his ability to inspire people to take action to conserve and look after our fragile natural world was amazing.

"We owe him a huge debt of gratitude - as does the natural world. I fondly remember watching David on local TV as a child, jumping into bogs and enthusing about plants - and he remained a personal hero of mine throughout my adult life."

"From the early 1980s until recently, he visited Cumbria every year to take part in events and activities. David very kindly celebrated many of our achievements with us, visited with the Duke of Edinburgh, opened Foulshaw Moss and Meathop Moss nature reserves, delivered entertaining fundraising talks to the public and helped to launch of the ground-breaking Cumbria Biodiversity Action Plan.”

“We would like to offer our sincere condolences to David’s family and give our thanks for all that he did to protect wildlife and promote nature conservation in Cumbria and across the world. He was a giant on whose shoulders we will try to stand. He will be deeply missed.”

Passionate about botany and environmental issues, David Bellamy cut a larger-than-life, exuberant figure who campaigned relentlessly on many conservation issues including the protection of peatlands and wildflower meadows. He first came to public prominence as an environmental consultant at the time of the 1967 Torrey Canyon disaster and was famously jailed for blockading an Australian river in a bid to stop a proposed dam. He was loved for his idiosyncratic and un-stuffy approach – he opened the marine nature reserve at St Abbs and Eyemouth by jumping into it with an enormous splash from a pier.