Tribute to Charlie Owen

On Friday 10th March 2023 members of Leigh Ornithological Society and friends gathered at the former Teal Hide for its official renaming to 'The Charlie Owen Hide', to scatter his ashes and to say goodbye to Charlie, a founder member of the L.O.S. who was Chief Ranger at Pennington Flash Nature Reserve.

From Teal Hide to The Charlie Owen Hide

It’s very apt that a hide should be named for Charlie as he and the Flash were almost synonymous with each other nearly all of his life. He grew up a few streets away from here in Etherstone Street. When he was child, the area that is now the Country Park and Reserve was an abandoned dessert of rubble and left over railway embankments and was a mecca for local kids to play at, which Charlie did with his best friend Howard May. 

Photo by John Tymon

When he got into his teens, despite suffering quite badly, all of his life with asthma, he somehow persuaded his mother to let him have a dog, a springer spaniel and during those exercising dog walks – at the Flash of course – his interest in bird watching grew and grew. He was emotionally much attached to the Flash, as anyone who grows up in one place very often is. He remained involved with it, and it was his ambition to work here, which eventually he did and was responsible for planning much of the reserve and wader scrapes, even working on some parts during the reserve creation, driving JCB’s and bulldozers! 

Photo by Roy Rimmer
The Reserve and the Flash as a whole was always his ‘pet project’! You could take the man out of the Flash and make him go on holiday but I always had the suspicion that away was ok, but getting back round the Flash again was all that really mattered! Reuniting him this final time with his beloved Flash, by scattering his ashes here, will surely mean his soul has finally come home. R.I.P. Charlie. 

Article by Pauline Greenhalgh 

Photo by David Boardman