New book about respected Burnley ornithologist and historian Ken Spencer

A new book has been released about the life of respected Burnley ornithologist and historian Ken Spencer.

Monday, 26th July 2021, 3:45 pm

A familiar face in Burnley particularly in the town's Central Library, Ken himself has written several natural history books over the years and in 2016 was awarded the MBE in the Queen's New Year's Honours List.

The new book, 'Ken Spencer of Burnley, Ornithologist and Historian', has been written by Ken's lifelong friend Stephen Ward.

Stephen said: "I have known Ken since 1957, when I met him at the East Lancashire Ornithology Club. Ken was able to verify a record of a green sandpiper near Altham; since then over the years he and I have recorded many a species in Lancashire.

Ken Spencer with his MBE in 2016

"In 1953 Ken wrote 'The Lapwing in Britain' which for more than 50 years was the definitive work on this species.

"For many years, Ken and his partner Barbara Bailey, were the go-to couple in caring for injured birds. Ken was also one of the citizens who took a leading role in the By-Laws dispute."

A trained Librarian, for more than 30 years Ken worked as a volunteer in Burnley Central Library, where the staff held him in great esteem for his encyclopaedic knowledge of local history.

Indeed, in 2018, staff there surprised him with a celebration to honour his 90th birthday.

Having been nominated by the staff, Ken was awarded Volunteer of the Year in 2014. That acted as a stepping stone and, in 2016, Ken was made a Member of the British Empire.

Copies of the book can be purchased over the counter at Nu-Age Print and Copy, 289 Padiham Road, Burnley, BB12 0HA for £10, or direct from the author Stephen Ward, 8 Herons Reach, LA5 0AD with a cheque for £11.50 to cover P&P.

This is a not-for-profit publication with all proceeds going to the British Trust For Ornithology with which Ken has been acquainted since 1934.