Saturday, 4 April 2009

Last Post - Froona Veldhuis

(Further Update: 9th April. see end)

Froona VeldhuisIt is with a deep sense of loss and not inconsiderable sadness that I have to report the news that one of our most enthusiastic peregrine watchers, Froona Veldhuis in Holland, died earlier tonight. The following information was posted late this evening by a regular contributor to an English discussion thread on the Slechtvalken Forum:

"It is with a heavy hart that I have to inform you that Froona has passed away tonight, with her brother and her neighbour at her side"

There will be many hundreds of blog visitors who won't have heard of Froona or read her postings. but there will be thousands more who will. Her enthusiasm for Schlechtvalken (peregrine falcons) was astounding. She seemed to monitor our webcameras here in Derby even more fastidiously than the team members do.

Peregrine image from the top of Froona's blog. Photographer unknown, possibly C.Saladin

One more than one occasion I found myself capturing some special moment on the webcam feed in my office or at home, rushing to post it on our blog, only to find that Froona had already put up three or four pictures of the same moment on her own site. More than once last year I simply gave up and linked people straight to her blog to see more of our pictures!

Froona's blog was unusual because it reported on the progress of a vast number of peregrine nest sites around the northern hemisphere at any one time. Running this project, I had little time to look at at, but it gave me a valuable understanding of the advancing seasons when, in one place, she would report on the breeding state of sites to the south, such as Rome, Zwolle, de Mortel and Brighton. She also ran a detailed peregrine website, though most is in Dutch

I never met Froona, but she had spoken of wanting to come to Derby soon and we've had much direct email contact.. It was through a number of anonymous comments left on this blog that some of us learnt of her going in to intensive care recently, then of make a slight recovery. I recently sent an email to her in the expectation that her recovery would continue and she would open it on her eventual return. I told her of the many well-wishers who had left comments for her, and wished her well on your behalf. I'm sorry she will never have known of them.

As a reflection of her deep enthusiasm, I can do no more than link you to Froona's blog where her very last post was on 23rd March, celebrating Derby's first egg. The day before she had posted the amazing seqeunce of our birds mating, sent to her directly by Derby photographer, Colin Pass.

For those wishing to leave a tribute to Froona, may I suggest that we reserve sole use of Comments to this blog entry purely for those relating to her? If you're willing to do so, please give your name, town and country, and I will pass them all on to the Schlechtvalken Forum.

For all other comments and webcam observations , please post to the previous blog entry for 3rd April.

Nick Moyes
on behalf of Nick Brown and Tony Grantham
Derby Cathedral Peregrine Project

Over 40 comments were left by blog readers in memory of Froona over the course of the last 48 hours. These have all now been posted on page 5 of a special condolences thread which has been created on the Dutch Schlechtvalken Forum . I failed to mention in my original piece that it was Froona herself who created the Derby Cathedral Peregrine Webcam logo which we now use in our multi-view. It incorporates a picture of one of our own chicks, and first appeared on her main website which has a large section in Dutch on Derby's peregrines. She was only too happy to grant my request for me to embed it into our multi-view video stream, where it remains to this day.
Update 9th April: A slim white candle burnt slowly today inside Derby Cathedral. Far from this place a farewell service was held to mark the passing of a friend that none of us had met, but somehow all of us felt we knew. For many, Froona’s passion and enthusiasm was the same as our own; she just expressed it better, and in a unique way. There is now a second webforum on which you can read messages left in her memory, including photos from her funeral service held today.


Anonymous said...

Pax Canada 4.44pm
I am just stunned by the news of Froona's passing, I thought she was on the road to recovery, my thoughts go out to her family.
Fly high Froona with your beautiful birds

Anonymous said...

Very, very sad news.
Froona, I didn't need to meet you to know what a lovely person you were... you will be greatly missed - my thoughts are with your family.
Steph, Ontario, Canada. 9.00pm

Ann ( Canada ) ex Derby gal said...

So very sad to hear the news that Froona has passed away. We shall all miss her contribution to this site. Our deepest sympathy to her family. Life is so full of uncertainty, live each day as it were your last.

Karen Anne said...

This is terrible. I will miss Froona very much, even though I only knew her thru her postings and web site.

North Kingstown, RI

Anonymous said...

Half a world away, linked only by our monitors, yet I am upset to learn of Froona passing away. May her spirit fly with the birds she loved so much. Condolences to her family.
Rosemary, Macon, GA USA

Anonymous said...

I am very very sad to hear the news...Froona will be missed badly. I offer my deepest sympathy to her family.
Jennie, Hong Kong.

Anonymous said...

Always such a lovely smile that hid the pain.
Enjoy the highs now without the lows.
Will be sadly missed for those fantastic shots and info am sure the team will be working doubly hard(if that's at all possible) to cover this dreadful missing gap in our following of such wonderful birds.
Love and prayers

Nick Brown (DWT) said...

I would just wish to add my feelings of sadness on hearing this news. As Nick M, I never met or spoke to Froona but her enthusiasm for peregrines both in Derby and elsewhere, and for life in general, shone through everything she did and wrote.
Our blog - and the urban peregrine world in general - will be the poorer without her.
Nick B (DWT)

Anonymous said...

Shocked and sad to hear Froona's passing. Through emails we were in Contact and the one thing that really stuck out was her great love of peregrines and the passion in which she followed them. As with many, I will real miss her.
Condolences to her family.

Anonymous said...

Thoughts and prayers to Froona's family and friends. Take comfort that she will be remembered worldwide by those who shared her passion.

Anonymous said...

What very wery sad news, of Froona's passing. my thoughts and prayers to her family and friends.She is with those who shared her life.

Anonymous said...

We are all the poorer with the loss of Froona. So sad and sorry to hear this shocking news. I hope it will be some comfort to Froona's family and loved ones to receive the condolences from all of her worldwide Derby peregrine "family".
Rest in peace Froona, we miss you.
Sue Hetherington
Wendover, Buckinghamshire, England

Anonymous said...

Was very saddened to hear of Froonas passing, she had an excellent website and loved reading her comments. Joy

Anna Flinstone said...

Such a shock to log on here on a beautiful sunny morning, to see Froona's lovely sunny smile but to learn that we shall not be seeing it again.... I shall miss her and her interesting and informative comments.

My thoughts are with her family and all those who were fortunate enough to know her in person. Blessings to you Froona.

Anna Flintstone, Ripley, Derbyshire

LYNNE said...

RIP Froona

May your Spirit and Love be an inspiration for us all.

Anonymous said...

What a shock to read the news of Froona's passing - it is so hard to believe.
Heartfelt sympathy to her family.

May I steal, and join in what I think is the lovliest phrase used by Pax Canada in the first comment-
"Fly high , Froona, with your beautiful birds"

Joan J. Derby

Anonymous said...

So sorry to hear the sad news this morning. Deepest condolences to Froona's family.

Mary Tong
Caerphilly, South Wales (ex Derby)

Roger said...

I'm sorry to hear of Froona's passing. Her site added greatly to everyone's enjoyment of this fantastic project and introduced us to many more similar projects. She shall be sorely missed and my thoughts are with her family and friends at this time.

Roger, in Derby.

Jayne said...

We only met in "cyber space" but my deepesy sympathy goes to Froona's family and dear Froona the sentiments from me are just the same "fly high with your beloved birds"
Jayne - West Midlands

Karen Anne said...

I am still over here bawling into Kleenex. I can't believe Froona is gone.

Glenda said...

Life in it's unexpectant times throws us a curve ball and this is one of those time with the news of Froona's passing. She had a passion for Peregrine Falcons that can only be described as untamed. Her family and friends will get through this a bit a time and my thoughts are with them. Froona you are now flying with the birds you loved so much, free to fly the world.

London, Ontario, Canada

Anonymous said...

So sad to here about Froona, its an awful loss and my thoughts are with her family and freinds at this time. From what i knew of froona she had a great love of Peregrines,nature and life in general. Although she will not be able to carry on watching her beloved peregrines maybe in away she can, as all the peregrine eggs hatch from all round the world froona will be watching over them still, they all have a gardian angel now. Andy, Derby

skygirlblue said...

Such a very sad day...and such a tragic loss personally and to the falcon family. Her passion and dedication to these beautiful birds could not be topped. She has touched so many of us that we will all carry a small piece of her with us. Her spirit will linger on in everything she has touched while on this earth.

I don't know how she had the time, but she was a huge contributor to the Bird Cams Around the World Forum. We would like to invite all of you to join us in lighting Memory Candles to honor Froona. To do so, go to:

Enter the initials FV in the Group Seach window and follow the prompts.

I will miss you, at peace now...

Mary Anne, Georgia
Bird Cams Around the World forum...

Anonymous said...

So sad to read this tragic news.She had a passion for all the birds which she generously shared with others.
My thoughts are with her family and friends from around the world.
Fran, Warwickshire

Anonymous said...

Such sad news.
I enjoyed Froonas posts on the site and will miss them.
My thoughts and sympathy go out to her family.
Fly freely with the birds you love Froona.
Jane, Syston, Leicester

Kathy J, Hove, E Sussex said...

I too was shocked and saddened to read the news that Froona had passed away. I was one of the many who did follow her fantastic website on a more or less daily basis. Her enthusiasm was amazing and her passing will leave an enormous hole in the "family" of peregrine watchers.

RIP Froona.

Anonymous said...

I'm shocked and saddened to learn of Froona's death. She had such enthusiasm for peregrines and shared it with so many through her amazing website. She will be very sadly missed. My condolences go to her family and friends.

Jane, Derby

Anonymous said...

such sadness to hear of froona's passing her website was a field of information on peregrine's all over the world your information will be sadly missed
sleep well froona and be our birds gardian angel
my thoughts are with your family
jo, alfreton, derbyshire

Terry, Herts UK said...

So sad to hear this news.

Another reminder to me that every life is so precious and so fragile.

In time, I hope her family and friends will take some comfort from the obvious fact that she touched so many lives around the world by sharing her knowledge and dedicating so much time for the enjoyment of others.

Rest in peace, Froona.

Cheryl Taylor Derby said...

I am so sorry about the sad news of Froonas passing. My deepest sympathy goes out to her family and friends. Like many people we thought of her as a friend by reading her many comments, and her fantastic website. She will be remembered by her love of peregrine falcons.

Jon Salloway said...

Such a sad loss for us all. While I knew she was unwell I was totally shocked by the news when told by Tony.G at the cathedral this morning. My thoughts go out to her family and friends. She will be greatly missed.

Jackie said...

OMG, I was so sad to here of Froona's passing and my thoughts are with her family.
Jackie, near Derby.

John B (not the sloop) said...

A very sad turn of events.
Although few of us contributors to this blog knew Froona personally, her passion for and commitment to Peregrine conservation was as clear as daylight. She was truly an inspiration.

Rest easy Froona - You won't be forgotten.

Gloucestershire UK

Jane (Belper) said...

I am terribly sad to hear the news of Froona's passing. Like many people, I felt I knew her a little and can only take heart at the thought that she is now flying free with her beautiful birds.
May I ask someone at Derby Cathedral if they would kindly light a candle in Froona's memory on my behalf? Sadly, I am not able to visit, but would like to think a flame was alight to mark the life of a lovely lady.

Peregrine Project Member (Nick M.) said...

I'm sure Tony, the Head Verger, can arrange this. I do know that he is adding Froona's name to those read out for whom prayers are spoken.

Ruth Z said...

I was so very sorry to hear the sad news. Like many people here I did not know Froona, yet reading the comments it is clear that she was a respected and liked member of the "Peregrine community".

I wish all her family and friends strength to cope with their loss.

(Ik wens veel sterkte an haar vrienden en familie.)

Project Member (Derby Cathedral) said...

I will certainly light a candle in the Cathedral in memory of Froona. As Nick M said she is on our daily prayer list.

May I add my feelings of sadness on hearing the news. I shall miss her helpful comments and wonderful photos. I am so sorry that she will now not visit us here in Derby.My thoughts and prayers are with her family and friends.

Margaret said...

So sad to hear about Froona's passing. May she rest in peace. I will miss her blogs and the many photos and videos she took. My condolences to her family and may she fly with the peregrines for ever.

Anonymous said...

Dear Froona
I'm making a donation in your memory to this year's appeal to keep the project going. I know you would have been absolutely delighted to know your love for these birds will continue in this way even though you can't be here to do it yourself.

Anonymous said...

So very sad & shocked to hear the news of Froona's passing. I felt I sort of knew her through her wonderful blogs, set up to watch peregrine's around the world. I'm sure she's flying high with her beautiful falcons. Perhaps if one of our chicks turns out to be a girl we could name her Froona in her honour. Rest in peace dear Froona x

skygirlblue said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
skygirlblue said...

In case this hasn't been posted, Froona's funeral will be tomorrow, Thursday, at 2:30 pm (Netherland's time.) For those of you familiar with time zones, that is GMT+2.

Because Froona was such a major contributor to the BCAW forum, we will be holding our own Remembrance to coincide with her funeral. We will begin at 8:30 am, East Coast USA, which is GMT-4 and run throughout the day.

Please join us. I will have the forum set for Public Access (I hope!)

(we've been having a little trouble with our lets hope we don't "crash" tomorrow!)

skygirlblue said...

Just a footnote to the above post. The link will be activated at approximately 8:15 am US time...that's GMT-4

Sorry, I don't know what time zone Derby is in, or I could give you the Derby time...

Anonymous said...

Strange to say, although Derby (amd most places in England) are just up the road from Greenwich, we are NOT presently on Grenwich Mean Time!!! We're on British Summer Time which is GMT plus one.
Whatever, we'll all be thinking of of and praying for Froona extra hard today.

Anonymous said...

What very sad news. Rest in Peace Froona.
My sympathy to her family; you must have been so proud of her.

Anonymous said...

Thank you Nick for posting the update regarding Froona's funeral yesterday. It was almost unbearably sad to read it and see the pictures, somehow especially on this most holy of days, Good Friday. Lets try to move on now and never forget her but remember her by what we do and run with the torch that she has passed to us.

Downtown Indy said...

Three young peregines were banded in Indianapolis today. Each year they are traditionally given names at this time.

Today, one was was given the name 'Indy Froona'

Indy Falcons

Downtown Indy said...

I meant to say three females and one male. Sheesh.

jan elgersma said...

I live in Canada.My cousin was Froona Veldhuis but as I have not heard from any of the Elgersma side of the family of her passing, can anybody confirm if Froona has a brother named Alex and her mom's name was Mattie???