Branch History

A brief history of the formation of the Wiltshire Branch


The Branch was formally established on 19 October 1996 through the efforts of John Grearson, who was elected the first Branch Chairman. John did a fine job in amicably forming the branch out of the West Country Branch which, in those days, comprised Cornwall, Devon, Somerset, Avon and Wiltshire - a huge area and difficult to co-ordinate and manage effectively.

The first meeting of a Steering Group, formed to establish the Wilts Branch, was held at the home of Beatrice Gillam at 19, Roundway Gardens, Devizes, on 29th January 1996. Attendees were Beatrice, the late Steve Day, Mike Fuller, John Grearson (Chairman), Christine Tracey and Avis Lloyd (Minutes Secretary).

A second meeting of the Steering Group was held in the Crown Centre, Devizes, on 17 April 1996 with new members - Jon Millo and Simon Smith (BTCV) in attendance with apologies from Michael Sammes (Treasurer). At a third meeting on 10 July, Steve Day resigned for personal reasons and at the meeting on 25 September, Christine Tracey resigned but Nick Wynn and Frank Lowe joined the group.

The Inaugural General Meeting of the new branch was held on 19 October 1996 at the Elm Tree pub, Long Street, Devizes, when the following officers and executive committee were elected ;-

Original Officers

Chairman - John Grearson

Secretary - Nick Wynn

Treasurer - Michael Sammes


Original Executive Committee

Beatrice Gillam (Bulletin Editor)

Avis Lloyd (Minutes Secretary)

Frank Lowe

Jon Millo (Moth Officer)

Simon Smith

Mike Fuller (Wilts Butterfly Recorder)

Matthew Oates, Nature Conservation Adviser for the National Trust, gave an illustrated talk on Downland Butterflies and their Conservation.

The first executive committee meeting of the Wiltshire Branch was held on 27th November 1996 at the Crown Centre, Devizes. Membership stood at about 130. The first Butterfly Bulletin was produced by Beatrice Gillam and Steve Day and distributed to members in November 1996 and the first branch Annual Butterfly Report 1996 was compiled by Mike Fuller, edited by Beatrice Gillam and distributed in April 1997. To date (May 2015) 39 editions of Butterfly Bulletin have been produced and an Annual Report produced each year.