We were saddened to hear news of the death of Michael Dower, a Visiting Professor of European Rural Development at the University of Gloucestershire, a friend to many at the CCRI and a champion of rural communities.
Michael was a tireless advocate for rural areas in UK and Europe and had a long and distinguished career focused on supporting the rural environment. The CCRI extends our sympathy to Michael’s family and friends. Michael was an unwavering champion of rural communities, well known to generations of rural activists in the UK and Europe and leaves an outstanding legacy.
Michael Dower was Director General of the Countryside Commission from 1992 to 1996, before that, National Park Officer of the Peak District. He was the Expert Adviser from 1995 to 1998 to the Working Group of the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of the Council of Europe, which drafted the European Landscape Convention. In that capacity, he was co-author of the first draft of the Convention and author of the Explanatory Memorandum. Michael was one of the founders of PREPARE Partnership for Rural Europe. He acted as PREPARE coordinator from 2000 to 2016, and in the latter period, he was also Joint Coordinator of the European Rural Parliament.
Michael and his wife Nan moved in 2012 from Cheltenham to the small town of Beaminster in Dorset in order, as he said, ‘to be rural again’, where his passion for rural issues and concern for the environment continued. He acted as voluntary manager of two Woodlands in Beaminster, owned by the County Council and the Secondary School. He was also a vice-chairman of the Southern Dorset Local Action Group, one of the family of over 2500 groups in the European Union implementing the LEADER element in rural development programmes, which Michael has been championing around Europe since its creation in 1991.
During his lifetime, Michael worked with countless organisations and touched the lives of many people. Consequently, there are many other tributes to a life richly lived.