Sad farewell to Durban businessman and environmentalist

Prof Jairam Reddy with Doug Kirton at the Mandela Day cleanup at Open Air School hostel in 2014.

DURBAN businessman and environmentalist, Doug Kirton, died earlier this month.

Speaking about Kirton, Crispin Hemson from the Durban Branch of WESSA, said: “I note with sadness the death of Doug Kirton. It may seem strange that the life of the owner of Kings Firearms is honoured by myself, Director of the International Centre of Nonviolence at DUT, but Doug was someone with a strong sense of social responsibility.”

Hemson said Kirton loved the natural environment and he would at times go into Pigeon Valley and other local natural areas to remove litter.

“When we celebrated Mandela Day in 2014 he assisted with a major cleanup in the beautiful grounds of the Open Air School hostel,” he said.

Kirton's particular love was trees, and he had a highly ambitious plan to put tree labels on all trees in the public natural areas of the city, an immense number! The Durban branch of WESSA collaborated with him in starting this project. “This was a complex task – we had to get the trees identified with the right scientific name, then link it to the correct English common name, Afrikaans name and isiZulu name. He had to work out the right materials and the best method for affixing the tree labels. All of this work Doug funded; any income went directly to WESSA,” said Hemson.

In addition, Doug was working on a promising new project, a book that celebrated the trees of Durban.

“Sadly, his death has interrupted this work, but I would like to put on record now the sense of gratitude we have for his passion and thoughtfulness,” he said.

Kirton was also involved with the Masonic Services, and helped deliver food hampers to the elderly at Christmas time for more than 20 years.

Femada Shamam from TAFTA said: “We are deeply saddened by the news of Mr Kirton’s passing. He was a friend of Tafta for many years and totally committed to the elderly. Through his involvement with the Masonic Services, Mr Kirton ensured that substantial Christmas hampers were distributed to the elderly every year for over two decades. Last year hampers were distributed to over 850 elderly. He will be remembered for his kindness, compassion and generosity of spirit.”

Lauren Walford

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