Patrons of the Society

John Webb,  Norma Leach,   George Beccoloni

John Webb                                                   

John has lived all his life in Grays and trained as a Civil Engineer. He worked for the Thurrock Urban District Council during the major development period after the '39-'45 war and then for the Basildon Development Corporation, retiring as Chief Engineer. His interest in history and archeology was stimulated by the excellent series of lectures on the subject arranged by Thurrock Libraries and the WEA in the 1960s and '70s and by joining the Society. With many other members of the Society he was involved in the major archeological excavations at Mucking and then with the rescue of Coalhouse Fort and now with the Davy Down project..He is Past president of the Essex Archaeological and Historical Congress. John took over as Chairman of the Society when Aubrey Saunders, who had been Chairman for over 30 years retired to the West country in 1987, and has also edited the Society's Journal, Panorama, since 1990. He stood down as chairman of the society in April 2003. In recognition of his contributions to the society over many years, he was unanimously chosen as a patron.

Norma Leach                                  

Norma is a a keen local and family historian and a long standing society member. She joined the committee in 2000. She now hosts our committee meetings and writes the minutes. She was an honarary editor of our web site and subsequently joined the web sub-committee. She is in charge of the book stall at our meetings and stores the books (as well as the gazebo). She is a regular at events such as Horndon Feast and Fayre and the Orset Show. In recognition of her contributions to the society over many years, she was unanimously chosen as a patron in 2022.

Dr George W. Beccaloni ARCS, DIC, FLS                                      

George is an entomologist, evolutionary biologist, taxonomist, museum curator and science historian, who worked at London’s Natural History Museum as a research entomologist and curator (specialising in cockroaches and butterflies) for 20 years. He has studied the life and work of Alfred Russel Wallace (the co-discover of evolution by natural selection) for 18 years and is the founder and Director of the Wallace Correspondence Project. In recognition of his work in publicising Grays resident, Alfred Russel Wallace, he was unanimously chosen as a patron in 2022.

Over the years we have lost a number of individuals who have made a major contribution to the society and local history in Thurrock. Here are the obituaries for:

Derek Austin Professor Geoffrey T Martin, Christopher Harrold, Jonathan Catton, Randal Bingley, Brian Burton, John H Boyes, Margaret Jones, Sherwin Chase and Dr Mike Catton