Obituary - Alan Millington – 1943-2022
Alan was born in Doncaster in January 1943. Despite spending his adult life” down south” in leafy Surrey he never lost his identity as a Yorkshireman. As a lad Alan fished Yorkshire waters sometimes venturing as far as Derbyshire, where the Derwent captured his imagination. In 2020 when the world communicated only by zoom , Alan always chose a picture of the Derwent as his background.
Alan attended school in Doncaster and shone at maths. His school was forward thinking for the time and advocated careers in science and technology. A visit to the Distillers Company plant in Hull sparked an interest in engineering. Alan applied for engineering courses at several universities but was undone by failing to pass his German O level. At the time many universities insisted on a modern language pass to get in. He was accepted by Battersea Technical College and left Doncaster for swinging London.
Alan loved the freedom and spent his time studying, playing rugby, bridge and enjoying beer. He graduated with a BSC in 1965 and started to work with a London based chemical engineering company. However he found office work boring and in 1966 returned to Battersea to start a PhD in distillation. It was about this time that Battersea Technical College morphed into the University of Surrey and moved campus to Guildford. In the final year of his PhD, Alan started part time lecturing and remained teaching at the University of Surrey for the next 53 years. This made him the longest serving member of staff at the University, a record that will be hard to beat!
Alan moved to Godalming first as a warden in student lodgings at Manor House then moving to start a family up on Charterhouse Hill. Teaching was one of Alan’s two great passions. The other was angling. Alan soon discovered the exceptional quality of fishing on offer in our part of England. He enjoyed trout and coarse fishing in equal measure. Alan was a natural teacher and regularly helped Dave Ewing and Andrew McKenzie with Godalming coaching sessions. Coaches would meet at Dave’s for breakfast then head off to Busbridge or the River or Broadwater. Alan often gave a lift to some of Dave Ewing’s many kids. Young David and Ruth tell a story of Alan driving them along Summers Road waving his hands in the air chuckling “Look children, no hands!” At the time they thought he used some sort of magic for they had never seen a car driven “no handed” before!
Alan gravitated to fisheries management where he could combine his science expertise and love of angling. First as fisheries management officer at Farnham then taking over from George West at Godalming. Alan was FMC secretary with the Society for 14 years brining considerable knowledge of fish biology and unparalleled expertise in water chemistry. Alan understood clearly the complex problem of nutrient storage in Broadwater, for example. Alan oversaw the silt removal and island expansion works at the lake in 2002 and subsequent stock control operations both of which improved fishing for members. He used this knowledge to great effect in meetings with Waverley Council when they were formulating their many variations of the Broadwater Plan.
Alan also enjoyed the practical side of fisheries maintenance. He took part enthusiastically in work parties. Roger Howe tells a great story of a work party at Salgasson when Alan managed to sink one of the Society’s boats by continuing to drive it forward with too much weight in the rear which was steadily taking on water. Some say the words Yorkshireman and obstinate were heard that day but this may be idle rumour mongering.
Most of all Alan loved fishing and continued to do despite his later health problems. He loved trout fishing at Dever Springs and Peperharrow. On the coarse side he held a special affection for Broadwater where he spent many a day fishing with his precious Free Spirit light carp rods often accompanied by his daughter Beth. His passion for the sport and knowledge of fisheries management will be greatly missed.
Alan Millington – 17th January 1943- 3rd march 2022