David Fearnley Sander Obituary

March, 1975

The late Mr.David Fearnley Sander

It is with deep regret that we record the passing of Mr. David Fearnley Sander, who died on January 4th at the aqe of 63 as a result of a virus infection of the brain. An untimely and tragic end to one who has, in the tradition of the Sander family, subscribed so much knowledge and practical expertise to orchid growing in general and the cult of species in particular.

He inherited a love of orchids from his grandfather and father and developed his skills at the so-renowned family nursery at St. Albans. Always an avid lover of species, he was at once skilled in their culture, very knowledgeable as to their identity and habits. His flair for displaying them in simulated natural style was manifested in the many groups displayed at shows, particularly Chelsea; this show was his Mecca. His method of staging has been copied many times, but never with quite the same decorative effect.

Following the death of his uncle Mr. F. K. Sander, he maintained the Register of Orchid Hybrids in assocation with Mrs. Marjorie Wreford, this important aspect of orchid culture was taken over by The R.H.S. in 1960. His committee service to the R.H.S. spans some 25 years as a member of the Orchid Committee, the Shows Committee, and the Orchid Registration Committee of which he was a member since its inception. The energy of the man is illustrated by the fact that he was for many years a member of the British Orchid Growers' Association, and for some time effectively edited the Orchid Review. In spite of being so fully committed, he found the time for much charitable work, in particular the Gardeners' Benevolent Institution benefited from this activity.

Following the closure of the family nursery at St. Albans, he established his own orchid business at Selsfield where he grew species in profusion in model conditions. A good deal of the light went out of his life when economic circumstances forced him to close it down. In recent years he devoted much effort in recording and collating the history of Sander family and having it published in book form as Sander The Orchid King. To one who has been closely associated with him for more
than 40 years, this publication so aptly mirrors the life of David Sander The Orchid Prince. Now his book is closed, but history will record the immense contribution that he and his family before him have made to orchid culture. The love he had for his wife and family was transcendent, and to them we extend our heartfelt sympathy in their sadness.

J. L. Humphreys V.M.H.