Author Topic: Mel Gascoyne  (Read 843 times)

Offline langcliffe

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Mel Gascoyne
« on: September 16, 2018, 05:40:03 pm »
Mel Gascoyne died on July 14th of this year at the age of 69.

Mel was a prominent member of Lancaster University Speleological Society in the late 1960s and early 1970s, and caved in Venezuela, France and Treviso during the time he was based in England. He then went on to McMaster University where he received a PhD in 1980, supervised by Derek Ford,  for his chronological and stable isotope research into the paleoclimate of Vancouver Island and the  Dales. Indeed, most of the known speleothem dates in Yorkshire caves comes from work done by Mel.

Mel was an influential member of the British caving community for a number of years, but he will be best remembered by his contemporaries for his ability to keep old bangers going, for his enthusiastic rendering of a wide repertoire of pub songs, and his enormous strength which was most welcomed when one was ascending the last 10 metres of a 60 metre ladder pitch.

Mel in the Flying Horseshoes in about 1969
Photograph: John Sellers

Offline Ian Ball

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Re: Mel Gascoyne
« Reply #1 on: September 16, 2018, 06:18:51 pm »
Thank you for relaying the sad news.


Offline Pitlamp

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Re: Mel Gascoyne
« Reply #2 on: September 16, 2018, 07:25:11 pm »
I'm particularly saddened by this news - but thanks for letting us know Langcliffe.

Mel Gascoyne moved overseas around the time I started caving as a child. I was very aware of his groundbreaking work on stal dating and passage age determination through my friendship with the late Dick Glover. Because Mel lived abroad I never knew him personally but he was always a legendary caving character for me.

Not long ago Lancaster University Speleological Society (the original one, rather than the newly re-formed one) held an anniversary reunion gathering, based in the Dales. The group came on a tour of Ingleborough Cave and I finally managed to meet the man I knew so much about but had never encountered in person. To say this was a privilege can only ever be an understatement.

What a terrible shame that the caving community has lost such a great bloke.

Offline langcliffe

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Re: Mel Gascoyne
« Reply #3 on: September 16, 2018, 08:38:51 pm »
There is an obituary here.

Offline langcliffe

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Re: Mel Gascoyne
« Reply #4 on: November 19, 2018, 06:02:46 pm »
An appreciation of Mel by Chas Yonge and Tony Waltham has appeared in the latest BCRA Transactions: Cave and Karst Science, Vol.45, No.3, (2018) .

Offline langcliffe

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Re: Mel Gascoyne
« Reply #5 on: November 29, 2018, 01:43:33 pm »
Just for completeness, an appreciation of Mel has also appeared in Descent 265, page 9 (Dec 2018).