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Michael J Seago    1926 - 1999

Michael was the author of many of the articles in our Bird Guide section.

(This obituary appeared in the Eastern Daily Press soon after his death in July 1999)

One of the most respected wildlife enthusiasts in Norfolk and a leading EDP (Eastern Daily Press) columnist, Michael Seago has died after a lengthy illness.

Mr Seago who was born in the year that the Norfolk Wildlife Trust was established raised the profile of birding and wildlife study in Norfolk. For more than half a century he inspired countless people to take an interest in natural history and the birds of Norfolk.

He was founder editor of the Norfolk Bird Report published by the Norfolk & Norwich Naturalists Society since 1953 and held the post for more than 40 years. About four years ago he conceived the idea of compiling a definitive history of birds in Norfolk for a millennium project for the county naturalists' society. This 500 page volume which will cover every bird ever recorded in Norfolk is due to be published in the middle of August.

While suffering from leukaemia for many months he struggled to complete this massive book. Helped by a group of friends it is scheduled for publication ontime and budget. Naturally enough he desperately wanted to see it published but he died on Thursday evening (8th July 1999).

Born in 1926 Mr Seago was an actuary at Norwich Union. He joined in 1948 after national service in India and some of his early essays about birds were written from a troopship. He also wrote the Birds of Norfolk which was published by Jarrolds in 1967. He retired in 1986 and was then even busier with his dual interests of writing for the EDP and enjoying his fascination with windmills. He took great pride that his son Richard who is a millwright decided to build the first new mill in the county for a century. He watched the mill's gradual progress with keen interest and would have dearly liked to see the project completed.

Married to Sylvia he has two sons Richard and Christopher part owner of Thelnetham flour mill and two grandchildren. Living at Thorpe it was handy to slip out to Breydon or reserves around Broadland and further afield. He started his writing career with the Yarmouth Mercury in 1949 then wrote for the Evening News. It was not long before Mr Seago started writing for the EDP. Until two months ago he was still writing the Birds of Britain feature which started some 25 years ago and the countryside notes on the EDP's letters pages. He was elected president of the Norfolk and Norwich Naturalists Society in 1963 and was proud to have been presented with the Sidney Long Memorial Medal in 1993 awarded occasionally to an outstanding individual by the society.

Sir Timothy Colman who is a former chairman of the wildlife trust paid generous tribute to Mr Seago who will be sorely missed. Last night EDP deputy editor Martin Kirby said "We will miss him and our newspaper is the poorer for his passing. The positive way he has approached the many hurdles of recent months was humbling."

Michael Pollitt

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