Sir Martin Wood (1927-2021) was a patron, companion, and friend whose philanthropy supported much of my professional career as a forester. In 2009, we cofounded Sylva Foundation together. I wrote a poem titled ‘The Noblest Forester’ to read as a eulogy at a celebration of his life with a gathering of family, friends, and colleagues held in Oxford today, 14th September 2022.

Several hundred people from all walks of life joined in celebration of the life of Sir Martin Wood

The poem is one of 30 in my latest book, Blough, published today to coincide with the celebration event. The book itself is also dedicated to the late Sir Martin Wood. Following its first public reading, I was pleased to present a dedicated copy of the book to his widow Audrey Wood.

Martin Wood was a truly remarkable man. Having developed the first commercial MRI scanner and global business, he subsequently became a prodigious philanthropist. I count his friendship and patronage as one of the defining elements of my own life. Listening to tributes from friends, family, and colleagues today, one word stood out among all others: ‘generous’. And, without exception, everyone touched by Martin’s unique spirit and energy, noted how ‘can’t’ was an alien concept to him.

Read more about Sir Martin Wood on Wikipedia

The Noblest Forester

Martin Wood, I can see you now
Forester disguised as engineer
The man who planted seeds
To grow a mighty forest

The forester disguised as engineer
Who planted seeds of innovation
Fed them with insightful passion
To inspire a future forest

The forester disguised as engineer
Who cultivated promising talent
Invested time and dedication
To foster a prodigious forest

The forester disguised as engineer
Who with generous philanthropy
Promoted nature and society
To create a fruitful forest

The forester disguised as engineer
Who embraced the noblest of professions
(While attracted by magnetic science)
To nurture a beautiful forest

Look, forester disguised as engineer
See before you now
How your seeds have prospered
Into a monumental forest

Martin Wood, noble forester
Now you may shelter and rest
Beneath the mighty canopies
Of your growing legacy

The Noblest ForestER, Gabriel Hemery, 2022

Blough is available from all good bookshops as a hardback or ebook, with signed hardback copies direct from my online shop (see below).


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