TRIBUTE has been paid to a former president of the Royal Forestry Society (RFS) who has died at the age of 89. 

Lord Clinton, who served in the key role between 2001 and 2003, passed away at the start of the month. 

Born Gerard Nevile Mark Fane on October 7 1934, he became the 22nd Baron Clinton in 1965, taking on responsibility for 25,000 acres across three estates in North and East Devon, collectively known as Clinton Devon Estates. 

A keen forester until his final days, he notably represented the RFS during Her Majesty The Queen's Golden Jubilee Service of thanksgiving at St Paul's in July 2002. 

Ben Herbert, president of the RFS, said: "He was a great enthusiast and was very supportive of the society and its endeavours. 

Forestry Journal: Lord Clinton represented the RFS during the late Queen's Golden Jubilee celebrations Lord Clinton represented the RFS during the late Queen's Golden Jubilee celebrations (Image: David Hartley)

"He was a passionate supporter of forestry and was responsible for 1,900 ha of sustainable, high quality, multi-purpose woodlands, delivering biodiversity, recreation  and landscape benefits, alongside the production of timber. 

"He will be sadly missed." 

The eldest child and only son of Capt. Charles Nevile Fane and Gladys Mable Lowther, Lord Clinton was born at 23 Belgrave Square, London – now the German Embassy - and educated at Cothill Preparatory School and Gordonstoun in Moray, Scotland.

Much of his childhood was spent with his great grandfather, Charles Trefusis, 21st Baron Clinton having lost his father, Charles, who was killed in action in Flanders, shortly before the evacuation of Dunkirk in 1940 when Gerard was five.

After National Service with the Royal Scots between 1953 and 1955 he trained as a land agent, inheriting his title as the 22nd Baron Clinton from his great grandfather, who died in 1957.  The title was in abeyance for eight years and Lord Clinton took up his seat in the House of Lords in 1965.

Forestry Journal: Lord Clinton passed away earlier this month Lord Clinton passed away earlier this month (Image: Supplied)

During his lifetime Lord Clinton secured the long-term sustainability of the 700-year-old Estates - the largest in family ownership in Devon - turning a traditional landed estate into a leading land management enterprise fit for the 21st century.

Clinton Devon Estates won numerous awards under his stewardship, including being judged four times winner of the Sunday Times Best Small Companies to Work for, three times winner of the Queen’s Award for Enterprise in the category for Sustainable Development and a recipient of the 2012 Food and Farming Industry Awards. 

He was also a passionate forester, spending many hours inspecting the Estates woodlands, which he saw as both an environmental asset and, when the time came, a crop of sustainable timber to be harvested.  In 2019 he unveiled a plaque to mark the 100th anniversary of the establishment of the Forestry Commission – in the same North Devon wood where his great grandfather had planted the newly-created Commission’s first trees.