Denys Brunsden OBE, DSc, FKC, Emeritus Professor, King’s College, London, (1936-2024)

Denys Brunsden

30th January 2024

It is with great sadness that we must report the death of Denys Brunsden who was one of the co-founders of the Dorset Coast Forum in 1994 and became the very first Chairperson, a role he maintained for some 12 years.

It was during this exciting period that Denys steered the young Forum towards an application for world heritage status for the Dorset and East Devon Coastlines. The apocryphal story says that he and others, were having a drink in a local pub when Denys suggested that the adjacent coastline was so important geologically and geomorphologically, that is deserved to be recognised and elevated on to the world stage…. and hence the seven-year journey towards receiving that accolade. Denys remained a Patron of the Jurassic Coast Trust until the very end of his life.

It is also worth conjecturing that the recognition now given to Mary Anning as the ‘Mother of Palaentology’ would not have happened without the world heritage status accolade (conceived by Denys) and that her contribution to world science would have remained in obscurity.

His knowledge and expertise in the field was second to none and his willingness to support others, especially students and those developing their skills and craft were well known and a further testament is that many of his former students now hold positions of importance in the field of geology and the associated sciences.

The structure and composition of the Dorset Coast Forum may have evolved over the past 30 years but the ethos of respecting and caring for the Dorset coast, that formed the basis to build upon that Denys gave us has certainly not changed.

Tony Flux, DCF Chairperson

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