Here are the notes his family prepared for the Vicar to read at Don Lowndes funeral yesterday (Wednesday) and some photographs sent by his daughter Linda. Once met, Don was not someone you forgot:
Don was born in Parwich in 1926. His Mother and Father were Harley and Kitty Lowndes. He had a sister Peggy and a brother Cyril.
He went to school in Parwich, and then joined Barnes’s in Ashbourne to an apprenticeship to become a ‘Black Smith’. He joined the Royal Navy in approximately 1942, and served in Portsmouth, then due to an accident, he was forced to come back to Parwich, where he became the village Black Smith, making thousands!!! of gates, which are probably still hanging today.
His passions at the time included Boxing – he was the DABA County Champion in 1950. In the late 90’s he was a major instigator of The Revived Ashbourne Boxing Club, which still operates today.
And Motorcycles – Grass Tracking in particular, he held the lap record at Longnor Sports for 25 years!! He then went on to present a shield to his successor. According to myth, the lap record was won on a bike he borrowed!!! from a Manchester shop.
In the 1960’s he loved his cars; his Italian Iso Griffo, was raced at Oulton Park in 1967, it then went on to be road tested from London to Derby making a time of 80 minutes!! Also in the 60’s he had a great deal to do with The Romany Travellers, and he and the family travelled with them. He met many great friends at that time, and the family remains in contact with them even now. Many many photos’ are in safe keeping of that time.
He was President of Longnor Sports committee for a number of years, and thoroughly enjoyed his day at both Longnor and Hartington Sports.
Don obviously loved his Shrovetide, goaling at least 3 balls at Sturston of course. He spent a number of years on The Shrovetide committee and one of his proudest moments was when he was honoured with the job of turning up the ball in 1974. You may remember the poem that he wrote at the time.
Palomino horses were his life in the 70’s, when he had a very successful time on the show circuit. Having Champion Horses at the all the local shows as well as the national ones.
He then went on to farm deer, he had a herd of Red deer at both Kniveton and Parwich; at that time it was very unusual to farm deer outside Scotland, apart from the large estates.
It was from this, that he realised the need for a specialized tranquilizer gun. Hence his own tranquilizer gun was engineered. He was heavily involved with the conception of the company Daystate Guns, still operating today.
He loved his hunting fishing and shooting, but in later life he wanted to preserve it, not shoot it, this is when he started working, first with local vets, helping to capture an escaped bull, by tranquilising it, and then working with The Home Office, specializing in his tranquilising techniques. He also did work for the CIA in America.
Of course he had failures too; one day he was testing out his tranquiliser gun at Riddings, and he tranquilized a duck on the pond; unfortunately he used too strong mix of drugs and the duck drowned!!
In the late 90’s he was approached by the Nature Conservancy Council, who wanted his expertise and his gun to use on large game such as elephants, rhinos and many other animals. This took him all over the world. Once, he went to The Russian Steps and helped to capture stallions from The Polanski Horses, an endangered breed, so that the blood line could continue.
He visited the Philippines, carrying out the same procedure for an endangered species of bull.
His very favourite place of all time was Kenya; here he helped to move elephants from one reserve to another in a bid to stop Ivory Hunting. He also had a lot to do with the rare White Rhino, again moving them around to continue blood lines.
This is the time when he fell in love with the country and the people.
He loved his grand children very much, and spent a great deal of time with Richard, especially in later years. Rob & James spent many happy days with him and their Nan when they were younger, and have many memories and stories of times fishing and shooting with him. Once a year, he would take Emma and Rob out Christmas Shopping, James was only tiny. Don delighted, in treating them to a ‘slap up lunch’ and then toy shopping to their hearts content. The only stipulation was that the presents were given on that day and opened then, not having to wait for Christmas morning!!
When Emma gained her degree, he was very proud, and his words were “About time we had a degree in the family”.
He became a great Granddad in 2000 when Jessica Rose was born and Harley Richard Donald followed in 2003. Harley and Jess called their great-grandfather ‘gangy’. In December 2008, Harley contracted a kidney disorder. He spent a few weeks in The Queens Medical Centre, Kidney Unit; He is now home, making a good recovery. All donations today will go toward The Kinder Appeal, The Children’s Kidney Appeal, at The Queens Med.
Iris, his wife and dear friend died in 1997.