Memorial to much-loved bird watcher from Great Ayton to be unveiled later this mo

Darlington and Stockton Times: The RSPB centre at Saltholme, near Billingham, where the memorial to Mike Corner will be unveiled The RSPB centre at Saltholme, near Billingham, where the memorial to Mike Corner will be unveiled

A MEMORIAL to a dedicated bird watcher will be unveiled at Saltholme bird reserve near Billingham later this month.

Mike Corner, who was 51, submitted bird sighting reports from his expeditions to the North Yorkshire Moors for 35 years.

The information Mr Corner, of Great Ayton, near Middlesbrough, submitted contributed to ornithologists’ knowledge of the area.

Just 14 months after his death at James Cook University Hospital, Middlesbrough, the same hospital where he worked in the pay department, Mr Corner’s parents Denis and Irene have paid for a bird watching screen to be erected in their son’s memory at Saltholme.

The screen stands on a corner of the reserve where Mike used to himself pause, binoculars and telescope at the ready.

Mr Corner’s father, 81-year-old Mr Denis Corner said: “I have stood on that corner myself with him, watching birds.

"Some of his interest in birds rubbed off from Michael. I used to occasionally go out birding with him and carry his equipment across rough terrain.’’

Mr Corner had been a lifelong member of both the RSPB and the Teesmouth Bird Club to whom he faithfully submitted his sightings reports for more than three decades, including regularly recording the first returning Rough Legged Buzzard to Sleddale on the North Yorkshire Moors.

A silhouette of one of his favourite and rarest raptors, a hen harrier, is being etched into the screen before it is officially unveiled on Thursday, November 21.

The discovery of a brain tumour at the age of 19 did not prevent him from achieving an honours degree in economics and travelling the world. He died in August 2012 after a long battle with illness and disability complicated by pneumonia.

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