Naturalist and broadcaster David Bellamy dies aged 86

11 December 2019, 19:36

David Bellamy has died aged 86
David Bellamy has died aged 86. Picture: PA

Naturalist and broadcaster David Bellamy has died aged 86, the Conservation Foundation has said.

The environmentalist died on Wednesday, according to the foundation, of which he was president and co-founder.

Thanks to his distinctive voice and screen presence, Mr Bellamy quickly became a popular presenter on programmes such as Don't Ask Me.

He also fronted his own shows, including Bellamy On Botany, Bellamy's Britain, Bellamy's Europe and Bellamy's Backyard Safari.

In a statement, David Shreeve, director of the Conservation Foundation, said: "Sadly, I have to report that David Bellamy died this morning.

The broadcaster with actress Emilia Fox in 2009
The broadcaster with actress Emilia Fox in 2009. Picture: PA

“David and I worked together on a variety of projects in a various places since launching The Conservation Foundation in 1982.

"He was a larger-than-life character who became a very special friend and teacher. He inspired a whole generation with his wide range of interests and enthusiasm which knew no bounds.

"The Conservation Foundation was very special to him and so today is very sad for all of us."

The Londoner was a household name as TV personality, scientist and conservationist.

He inspired Sir Lenny Henry's "grapple me grapenuts" catchphrase and was a regular presence on TV.

Mr Bellamy, who lived in County Durham, later attracted criticism for dismissing global warming.

Comedy writer and radio presenter Danny Baker paid tribute to Mr Bellamy, calling him a "truly brilliant and canny broadcaster".

Piers Morgan also paid tribute on Twitter, writing that Mr Bellamy was a "brilliant naturalist, broadcaster and character."

Mr Bellamy worked in a factory and as a plumber before meeting his future wife Rosemary, to whom he was still married when he died.

The couple had five children. Mr Bellamy studied and later taught botany at Durham University.

He achieved wider recognition following his work on the Torrey Canyon oil spill in 1967.

In 1979 he won Bafta's Richard Dimbleby Award.