A sparking fire of energy and infectious enthusiasm, John will be much missed by the many people that knew him and in particular the local geological community. He died suddenly in his sleep on 23rd April 2023 during the last of his many adventures abroad.
After a rich and varied career, John’s passion for geology was sparked by the late Paul Olver. Paul alerted him to the amazing rocks in and around John’s home village of Martley, where he was already a leading light, maintaining footpaths and promoting tourism in the area. With Natalie Watkins and others, he was instrumental in obtaining EU funding under the EU LEADER programme to excavate the extraordinary site of Martley Rock, exposing a complex of five different geological formations from different Periods, with the Precambrian Malverns Complex rock at its heart.
Over several years, John employed diggers to excavate a total of 12 trenches and a group of geologists and local enthusiasts, including members of EHT, led by Bill Barclay, a retired British Geological Survey Geologist, undertook the task of examining and logging the geology. Two trenches remain open, with information boards, allowing visiting geological groups to see the rich variety of rocks present while John continued to muster regular working groups to keep the site clear.
John’s contributions to Earth Heritage were very much welcomed by EHT because he fired an interest in geology with so many people and encouraged landowners to cherish and share their geological sites. He was a leading light with Paul Olver and Dave Cropp in setting up the Teme Valley Geological Society (TVGS), which would regularly attract 50 or people to talks from eminent geologists and also became the focus for further initiatives.
TVGS obtained funding and asked EHT to conduct an audit of the many geological sites in the parish, publishing a book with 31 sites representing 7 geological Periods documented. A geology garden was created at the Chantry School in the village and Martley itself became designated as a Geovillage, one of several in Europe, for its exceptional geology. John arranged field trips for the society, ranging from evening ambles to local sites through to residential trips led by expert geologists and lubricated with excellent food and drink as in the memorable trip to Bude shown below. During Covid, he kept the society alive, conducting evening meetings by zoom and circulating emails of geology news to an impressive number of interested contacts.
For several years, John attended the Geologists’ Association Festival of Geology in London, taking displays of Teme Valley geology and encouraging groups to visit. Groups visited from far and wide; John would explain the local geology with great enthusiasm, supported by displays of local rocks in the village hall. They would then enjoy John’s great sense of humour as he proudly led them to his favourite sites. John was invariably friendly and supportive of local geologists wanting to conduct their groups around his patch. Walks to visit selected sites were also published as leaflets, information boards were provided, the website was maintained… John’s amazing energy seemed endless.
The loss of John Nicklin has been a big shock to the local geology community and beyond. He will be very much missed .
We at EHT are honoured and very grateful that John’s family have chosen EHT as the charity to which donations in his memory should be made. We will consult with TVGS on how to use the donations to create a lasting tribute to John.
John leaves his wife Linda and their two daughters, to all of whom we extend our deepest sympathy.