In Memory of Don Hills

22nd April 1936 – 6th October 2018



Celebration of Life

You can read the service which was conducted by his graveside at a natural burial site in Devon on 30th October 2018:

Click here for the ‘docx’ version

Click here for the ‘pdf’ version


Don laid to rest.

A message board in memory of Don at the reception afterwards

Messages from GreenSpirit Friends

Here are memories and reflections for Don from GreenSpirit Friends:

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I’m sorry to hear about Don. I was only asking about him recently at the Annual Gathering.

I’m sorry it’s not possible for me to get to the funeral.

I have fond memories of spending time with Don at various GreenSpirit events. His optimistic approach to the big issues always impressed me.


Barry Johnson


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I am very sad to hear the news that Don has passed away. I had not seen him for a few years but had a feeling he was getting ready for Moving On (…again).

Now I know that he will be fine.

Don was a wonderful man, full of goodness, and he would have been at the centre of my (still more or less invisible) Conspiracy of Harmlessness…


Barry Cottrell


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Very sorry to hear about Don’s death. He was such a warm and friendly guy. I didn’t know him well but he does have the distinction of being the only person ever to be helicoptered out of Cae Mabon. You probably remember it was quite a drama. First a regular ambulance came to the top of the track then decided they couldn’t go any further so called out the air ambulance. Then, at about four in the morning, a helicopter hovered for ages over the Roundhouse before flying off again. Later we learned its landing gear had been stuck. A second helicopter finally turned up and a paramedic abseiled down like a spider from the sky. I was impressed with how he dealt with the situation, a mixture of macho bravado and helpful sensitivity. By then Don, who’d probably had a minor seizure in the night, was sitting up and looking better. Anyway, he was hoisted with the paramedic into the helicopter and whisked away to Ysbyty Gwynedd. Later I remember him saying the helicopter ride was the highlight of his stay at Cae Mabon. It was the time when Prince William was employed as a helicopter pilot at RAF Valley Mountain Rescue, so we did wonder if he’d had a royal escort. Not that that would have impressed Don. Given that this incident must have happened at least ten years ago it’s a blessing that he lived so long afterwards.

I send my love to his family and to all you fine Green Spiriters!

Eric Maddern



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I remember Don well and how significant figure he was.

With sympathy for the loss of a like-minded soul.

Mary Jo Radcliffe



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When Noel and I moved to Exmouth, Don Hills was one of the first GreenSpirit members to welcome us. He attended all of the gatherings that we organised in Exeter and Exmouth and was good enough to accept a number of my poems and illustrations for publication in several issues of GreenSpirit magazine. He had a party for his 70th birthday in Ilfracombe, which Noel and I attended and enjoyed. Don always seemed to me to be a balanced, empathetic person and I am glad to have known him. My thoughts are now with his wife Helen.

Jenny Johnson (Harrower)


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I am so sorry to hear of Don’s death. That is a considerable loss to GreenSpirit, as well as to his family.

Petra Griffiths



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I’m sure we will all remember, and miss, Don the great enthusiast.

Trevor Sharman



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Don was such an amazing man, full of enthusiasm as you say and he inspired me very much with his tales of cycling the Camino in his early seventies. He also came to one of my sacred clown courses in Oxfordshire after we met at the Green Spirit gathering at Earth Spirit centre, and there was an extremely funny incident one night when the fire alarm went off at 1am.

Don duly made his way to the Tennis courts, the appointed meeting place, where he met the warden who was in her dressing gown, having raced down the hill from her little cottage. They were the only two there. The rest of the clowns were snoring through the alarm bell. Don and the warden couldn’t immediately trace the source of the fire, and as the site consisted of several acres it took some time, but eventually after traipsing round the land with torches they followed the trail right back into Don’s bedroom where there was smoke arising from his wet slippers which he had placed to dry on the night storage heater. Such a clown story! He had set it all off in the first place and then raced across the field in his pyjamas shouting “FIRE!”

It’s been one of my all-time favourite clown course stories and I will remember him very fondly again on 30th October when his life is celebrated in full.

Much love and many bright red nose blessings,

love Rachel Caine X



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Don led our local GreenSpirit Group in Southampton for several years and was a very special person. He led our group creatively and with huge energy and warmth. He always had a positive outlook on the darkest of situations or problems and approached life with cheerfulness, warmth and barrel loads of enthusiasm. Not only was he a dedicated and keen leader with a great vision and imagination but he was also a very caring and loyal friend too. We will all miss him greatly and his memory and spirit will live on for those of us who knew him in Southampton.

Liz Beaven


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Dear Don will be sadly missed.

He was a teddy bear of a man who was passionate about GreenSpirit. We had some earnest chats and chuckles along the way. Of course, we shared the great yellow helicopter experience at Cae Mabon and my first aiding of him at that time created an unseen bond between us.

May he safely find his way home.

Richard Adams



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What I loved about Don was that he had a big heart. I remember years ago I had some very bad news – I did not know how to react or what to do. So, I phoned Don and he was superb. He asked about all of the people in the situation and he got a real 360 view – he really understood what was going on. He then spoke with deep compassion for all of the people involved and I knew what he had to say was right. I was able to respond appropriately and compassionately to the situation.

I also remember at the Wild Week in Wales some years ago. There was a chap called Trevor who was struggling with ill health and needed support but wanted to come along. Don provided that support and he helped Trevor to have a really good holiday.

These are just 2 examples of Don’s big heart making the world a better place. I will miss his buoyant enthusiasm and passion for people and the planet.

Ian Mowll


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Don was my room mate for my first annual gathering at EarthSpirit. I remember a lot of snoring, but he sounds like a lovely chap and sad to hear of his passing.

Piers Warren



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I think Don was the first GreenSpiriter I ever spoke to, I believe when he and Chis Clarke were presenting at St. Mary’s Balham back in the late 1990’s. Over the years we had some good laughs particularly on the Walking breaks, Annual Gatherings and on my only visit to Cae Mabon in 2000. Don was a great supporter of GreenSpirit, was on Council for many years and made a very valuable contribution. Over recent years he was very poorly and it was a sad decline for a once ebullient personality. I’ll certainly miss Don’s ‘being there’.

Chris Holmes


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Obviously, very sad news. For the brief period I got to know him, I found him such a warm-hearted and authentic human being. Sadly missed.

Steve Wollaston



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Jenny and I were both very sad to hear of Don’s passing. He was a great stalwart for GreenSpirit and a lovely man. We met him on several occasions at GreenSpirit gatherings, and always enjoyed his company, and learnt something of value from him every time. May his spirit rest in peace and contribute to others in the next stage of his pilgrimage. We will be thinking of him and of you, Helen, on Tuesday, October 30th. The date is noted in our diaries.

May the sun shine on your face and may the wind be at your back for the rest of this journey, Helen.

Noel and Jenny Harrower



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I knew Don fairly well and went to his 70th birthday party in Ilfracombe, and always enjoyed seeing him at GreenSpirit events and knew of his very significant role in publishing the GreenSpirit magazine.

He was a very kind, active, knowledgeable and caring person. I know that he lived in Coombe Martin and we exchanged cards every Christmas. He always had a ready sense of humour about him.

Since I moved to Norfolk about ten years ago I have not seen him so much but we did keep in touch with each other.

I shall not be able to come to the funeral but I shall be thinking of him and all the good works he did.

All best wishes,

David Kelf


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In the poem I wrote for Don on his 70th birthday and read out to everyone at his big party in Ilfracombe, I described him as ‘ …a jolly seer, who loves life with a passion.’ And so he was. Wise and jolly and always bubbling with life and enthusiasm and forever ready to try new challenges. Like becoming co-editor of our GreenSpirit magazine. He had never done anything like that before but I remember how eagerly he welcomed the opportunity to try his hand at it and how much he enjoyed the process.

Don always encouraged others to try new things too. I remember how keen he was for me to join the GreenSpirit Council. When I was reluctant, because I don’t have a car and in those days the Council was meeting in various parts of the country, he said “Don’t worry: I’ll drive you to the meetings”. And so he did, to meetings all over the place. We swapped life stories as we drove along. Sometimes we sang. We talked a whole lot about all sorts of things on those journeys, and spirituality in particular. And Don started telling me I should write a book about GreenSpirit. I said I didn’t think I could do that and he said yes I could. He kept insisting. And in the end I, did. I shall always be so very grateful to Don for that. Were it not for his insistence, the book GreenSpirit: Path to a New Consciousness would never have come into being.

In turn, I and the other members of our Hartland Writers Group encouraged Don to write his own book—the novel that grew out of his experience on the Camino, in Spain. He was always a popular member of that group, even when we were all telling him off for trying to keep too tight a rein on his fictional characters!

I have so many memories of Don and I shall always treasure them. And I know his big, beautiful spirit is still around somewhere, smiling.

Marian McCain


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Don was such a huge, generous and ebullient spirit. His loss is great for all of us.  More recently, he has been supported by Helen through a period of illness and decline, but now he will be remembered as he was:  great hearted; full of enthusiasms and passion for the things that really matter in this world. As well as being a passionate advocate for the things he believed in, he was ever ready to step back and let the other person have their say. He was ever the adventurer.

A couple of specific instances:

Being swept up into the sky by helicopter, having recently surfaced from a major medical emergency in Cae Mabon’s remote valley in Wales, he reacted to the experience with wonder and hilarity.

When we were going through a difficult period, it was to Don and to Hilary that we turned for support and guidance. They were both there for us with wisdom and encouragement.

Don might have departed, but he lives on in on our hearts and in how he has enriched our lives.

Chris and Isabel Clarke



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Goodbye, Don. I miss your warmth. I have lots of good memories of you. Rest in Peace.

Joan Angus



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I am sorry to hear of Don Hills passing, one of the people who I feel taught me about GreenSpirit when I started to come to national events like spring walking.

Emanuela Marchiori



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