Tributes flood in for “inspirational” protector of Norfolk’s coastline Pat Gowen

Pat Gowen pictured in 2004 aged 72. Photo: Nick Butcher

Pat Gowen pictured in 2004 aged 72. Photo: Nick Butcher - Credit: Archant � 2004

Tributes are pouring in to an 'inspirational' former UEA scientist who helped Great Yarmouth beach achieve Blue Flag status and tirelessly fought against pollution of the sea.

Pat Gowen, founder of the North Sea Action Group, has died at the age of 85.

Mr Gowen, born in Norwich, left school at 14 years of age with no qualifications before beginning work at the University of East Anglia when it first opened.

Before retiring from the UEA in 1983, Mr Gowen had a broad working scientific career.

In trips to sea gathering samples for the marine biology programme he became aware of the massive damage being inflicted on the sea bed and marine creatures due to the input of untreated sewage and other waste and by mining the seabed for minerals.

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He first joined Andrew Lees in the Broadland Friends of the Earth successful campaign saving the Norfolk Broads grazing marshes from drainage and arable conversion followed on by yet another successful major campaign fighting the industrial mercury pollution of the Norwich soil, groundwater and river. He then went on to form the North Sea Action Group which in turn later joined forces with MARINET to become chairman.

Ingo Wagenknecht, of the North Sea Action Group, said: 'Pat and myself had some wonderful times together at North Sea Actions. He had a way of persuading people with scientific arguments and simple experiments. He was always courteous and had time for everyone. We had many marvellous in-depth political, ecological and philosophical discussions, he was an interesting man.'

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Chair of Hellesdon Parish Council Shelagh Gurney said she had enjoyed some 'interesting and amusing discussion' with Mr Gowen over the last 20 years.

James Bensly, of Great Yarmouth Borough Council, said: 'Mr Gowen was a man of great knowledge and an inspiration to those he taught.

'He was a very well known man in our village of Hemsby where he would holiday and did so for quite some years. His attributions towards our save Hemsby coastline charity were second to none and for that we will be forever thankful. He will be greatly missed.'

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