It was with sadness that I learned of the sudden death of Professor Graham Ashworth CBE. Graham was a past President of the Baptist Union of Great Britain, former President of the Foundation for Environmental Education, and a former member of the UK Round Table on Sustainable Development. As a former Professor of Urban Environmental Studies at the University of Salford he was an advocate of urban regeneration and land reclamation. In 1980 he was awarded the CBE for services to the environment. He became well known nationally as Director General of the Tidy Britain Group from 1987 to 2000, leading the Tidy Britain Campaign. He was a Deputy Lieutenant of Lancashire from 1991, chaired his local Parish Council, and was active in environmental advocacy right up to his death.
Graham was for many years a leading voice, in fact one of the first, in support of environmental issues, and a supporter of the John Ray Initiative from its early days under the leadership of Sir John Houghton. I was privileged to work with him both in teaching and at conferences. He and I both taught on the Certificate in Applied Theology course for young Baptist leaders from central and eastern Europe at the International Baptist Theological Seminary, Prague. He was a great encourager of debate. From my own position of chair of the IBTSC Board, I know that Graham’s teaching of environmental theology was greatly appreciated by the students and the staff in Prague.
We can give thanks to God for Graham’s prophetic voice, a voice we will miss in the run up to the UN Conference on Climate Change in Paris.
Rev. Dr. John Weaver