For those of you that haven’t already heard, Ronnie Ronalde sadly passed away on 13th January. Ronnie and his wife became honorary members of WBC in 2010, but how they became a part of WBC is an interesting story?  During a very cold, snowy winter-spell in January 2010, I fed the Blackbirds in our garden on Tesco’s finest apples.  At the time, Steve cursed my expenditure and moaned as he was ringing in our garden.  During that month, Steve trapped 64 Blackbirds, but he reckoned that they were all too fat to fly anywhere!  Well fly they did as one was re-found in Sweden, unfortunately killed by a car in March and two others were trapped by ringers in Finland. The events were reported in the national press, I was thrilled xx!

At the time, Ronnie and Rosemarie Ronalde were still living in Australia, but planning to come back to the UK.  Ronnie wrote to me, enclosing a copy of his CD and a lovely letter and told me how he remembered his time in Suffolk (Beccles) with such fondness and all about the song of the Blackbird and how this inspired him.  His most famous song “If I were a Blackbird I’d whistle and sing”. He explained that this was a great many years ago, when he was just starting his career.  He said that his garden ran down to the River Waveney where he had a boathouse and in it his boat “The Blackbird”. We were able to locate and the current owners who welcomed us and allowed us to put up a nest box in the garden on Ronnie’s behalf. Ronny and Rosemarie were thrilled about this initiative.

Ronnie and Rosemarie came back to the UK a few years ago and joined WBC members for dinner at the Ship Inn, Dunwich to celebrate Steve’s birthday before going to the heath to look for Nightjars. There was no shortage of night jars at the bar and all those who came along enjoyed an evening of entertainment and tales of old from Ronnie.  We promptly made them our honorary members and have kept in touch ever since. Needless to say the WBC party saw plenty of Real Nightjars when they eventually got to the heath!

It was therefore with great sadness that I received the note from Rosemarie (please see below).  I have of course e-mailed her on WBC’s behalf’s xx

Thank you to Helen and Rob Gooderham for also forwarding the lovely article from the paper (please see below)

Kathy Piotrowski


Dear Kathy

It is with great sadness that I have to tell you that my darling Ronnie has passed away on the 13th of

January at 11 in the evening at Brinsworth House, London. Both our daughter and I held him in our

arms. He is at peace now.

Kind regards