Chris Packham meets St Albans River Ver book author

Jacqui Banfield-Taylor and Chris Packham

Jacqui Banfield-Taylor and Chris Packham - Credit: Archant

When naturalist and TV presenter Chris Packham wrote the foreword to a book about the River Ver, he had never met its author Jacqui Banfield-Taylor.

But that was rectified when Jacqui, who wrote The River Ver – A Meander Through Time, met Chris when he was giving a talk in Hertfordshire.

Chris had been unable to make Jacqui’s book launch in St Albans but he sent a message apologising and congratulating her on her efforts.

So when Jacqui and husband Bruce – who is a local river bailiff and conservation volunteer – heard he was going to be in Potters Bar, they arranged to meet up.

Jacqui said: “Despite being incredibly busy all evening he still managed to find time at the end of the night to come and sit and chat with me and my husband Bruce for half an hour. I gave him a copy of the book, which he seemed genuinely thrilled with.”

Chris told her he had enjoyed her descriptions of the river and its surroundings and how people’s memories were interspersed throughout.

He also liked the way it encouraged people, especially children, to explore and care for rivers and the flora and fauna they support.

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Jacqui was inspired to write the book by her late father Ted Banfield, who was an author, local historian and founder member of the Ver Valley Society.

It was partly based on his notes and Chris told her that Ted would have been very proud of her work.

He signed Bruce and Jacqui’s copies of the book and wrote in hers, “Thank you for allowing me to play a small part in this lovely project”.

Jacqui added: “I like Chris, he is genuine, passionate, knowledgeable, sometimes outspoken and controversial but cares deeply about the future of our planet – he reminds me very much of my dad and when I told him this he said it was a lovely compliment.”

n Signed and dedicated copies of The River Ver – A Meander Through Time with a free bookmark are available at a special price of £20 and can be delivered free locally by contacting the author at