We received some sad news this week that one of Minsmere’s best-loved and longest serving volunteers, Betty Nelson, has sadly passed away.

Betty was a volunteer at Minsmere for more than 30 years, staffing the old Beach Hut, working in reception and, latterly, folding leaflets and sorting pin badges. Betty stood down as a volunteer when the Covid lockdown started in March 2020, at the grand age of 99 years. We were pleased to welcome her back in September of that year to celebrate her 100th birthday, and again when she turned 102 last autumn.

I’m sure that many of you will have found memories of Betty. Here’s a few pictures of her time at Minsmere.


Betty loved swans, robins and owls, so these three pictures seem very apt. The first shows Betty with a certificate of the life history of a Bewick’s Swan named Betty, and wearing a name badge beautifully drawn by former Minsmere volunteer Mike Cartwright depicting Betty the Bewick’s bill pattern.

The second brilliantly captures Betty’s sense of humour as she shares a joke with the collection Robin.

The third was Betty on her 100th birthday alongside the owl sculpture in memory of her friend Chris, a former cafe staff member.

RIP Betty.