Heeley City Farm pay tribute to 'passionate and gentle' volunteer found dead in Sheffield

Heeley City Farm has paid tribute to a volunteer who was found dead in Sheffield this week.

By Sophie Wills
Tuesday, 31st March 2020, 8:13 pm
Updated Wednesday, 22nd April 2020, 11:15 am

Philip Ridsdale went missing from his home in the Highfields area on Thursday, March 26 after concerns were raised when his family didn’t hear from him.

Sadly, a body was found in the Heeley area on Monday (March 30), with South Yorkshire Police stating: ““While formal ID (identification) is yet to take place, officers do believe it to be that of Mr Ridsdale.

“Philip's family have been notified and are being supported at this time.”

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"We are very saddened to lose Philip Ridsdale who volunteered and worked with the youth and animal team at Heeley City Farm for over twenty years."

Mr Risdale was passionate about wildlife and volunteered with the youth and animal team at Heeley City Farm for more than 20 years.

A spokesperson on the farm’s Facebook page said: “Phil, 'Flip' or 'Twitch', had many passions which he became an expert in, including bird watching, photography, wildlife identification, animal husbandry, farming, and in recent years even Pokémon Hunting.

“He had been a regular visitor to the bird observatory at Spurn point and had carried out in-depth studies of the birds at the farm and in surrounding areas.

He installed owl nest-boxes around the peak district and farm and also recently became qualified in bird ringing, which he was demonstrating and teaching to others.”

The spokesperson said that Philip had had a ‘huge positive impact’ on young volunteers over the years, teaching them about wildflowers, birds and passing on expertise.

Phil would do anything for anyone and was a source of knowledge for locals about nature,” they added.

“People would come down to the farm just to ask him - he always knew the answers.

“He will be remembered for his dry sense of humour, huge knowledge on so many natural subjects, great strength, gentleness, passion, patience when teaching young people, and willingness to work at unsociable hours (midnight delivering lambs, working Christmas day and running 5am dawn chorus bird walks to name but a few)!

“He will be sadly missed by hundreds of volunteers, staff he has worked alongside and members of the bird, wildlife and Pokémon groups that he was so active in.

“Our thoughts are with his family and friends at this hard time.”