Mary Sheerin pays tribute to environmentalist and broadcaster Dick Warner following his recent death

It is true to say that the late Dick Warner died as he lived; on his beloved waterways of Ireland. He took ill while sailing along the river Shannon and died almost instantly.
 When news of his death broke tributes poured into all media outlets, led by President Michael D. Higgins who described him as a “dedicated environmentalist and a wonderful filmmaker, his beautiful work on the canals of Ireland was outstanding.”

 Through my work, I once – many decades ago – had the privilege of meeting with Dick Warner. He was the producer on a radio programme about our natural heritage and the interview took place in the Geological Survey of Ireland. Dick was the producer and I was immediately struck by his beautiful voice – velvet, serene and so distinctive.
 I cannot now recall who the actual interviewer was; they made no impression and have long faded from my mind. I do remember wondering, at the time, that it was a pity that it was not Dick’s voice on the air – albeit acknowledging how important is the work of a radio producer.

 Well, my concerns were needles because over the last four decades I’ve had ample opportunity to listen to the mellifluous tones of Dick Warner.

 Like his myriad of followers I loved his programmes and my favourite was Waterways. He knew every inch of the Royal and Grand Canals and indeed all our rivers.

 Indeed as recently as last May he was present at an event celebrating the 200th anniversary of the opening of the Royal Canal. And isn’t it heartening to know he was there. He, who knew more about the Royal Canal than anyone else.

 He had a wonderful way of presenting his programmes. His narrative descriptive, informative and so inviting. You could feel that you were right there with Mr Warner in the old barge that used sail along slowly and surely at a walking pace.

Continue reading in this week’s Ireland’s Own (issue 5613)