Honours: MVO for Queen's swan marker

Honours: MVO for Queen's swan marker

Francis Batt

Honours: MVO for Queen's swan marker
The man who annually leads a team of experts along the Thames checking the health of the swan population by counting and weighing the cygnets has been made an MVO in the New Year's Honours List.

David Barber celebrated his 21st year as the Queen's swan marker this year. Each year he leads his team in scarlet uniforms in skiffs along the Thames, checking the health and numbers of swans as they pass through Windsor, Maidenhead and Marlow.

David, 64, owns DB Marine Boatyard in Cookham. He said: "I have been a river person all my life. I was an apprentice on the Thames."

Like many others he has been horrified by reported attacks on swans this year and is also concerned about the growing pollution that threatens the birds.

He sees education as the best way of discouraging mindless attacks and is closely involved with the River and Rowing Museum at Henley.

He said: "We also go out and talk to schools and charitable organisations, teaching children about wildlife that surrounds them and how to be kind to it."

His reaction to being honoured? "It is absolutely marvellous."

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