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How did this Norfolk man end up advising the Chinese government?

PUBLISHED: 16:37 25 May 2019

Terry Townshend, 48, from Winterton, now lives in Beijing where he advises the Chinese government on environmental issues. Picture: Submitted.

Terry Townshend, 48, from Winterton, now lives in Beijing where he advises the Chinese government on environmental issues. Picture: Submitted.

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A Norfolk man who advises the Chinese government on climate change law has said his interest in nature was sparked while bird-watching as a boy in the dunes at Winterton.

Terry Townshend, 48, from Winterton, now lives in Beijing where he advises the Chinese government on environmental issues. Picture: Submitted. Terry Townshend, 48, from Winterton, now lives in Beijing where he advises the Chinese government on environmental issues. Picture: Submitted.

Terry Townshend, 48, was born and brought up in the coastal village, home to a national nature reserve, and now lives in Beijing, the booming capital city of China, where he has spearheaded efforts to save some of the country's most endangered birds.

He moved there in 2010 and works with various organisations as a consultant on environmental law and wildlife conservation.

He has initiated projects to track some of Beijing's birds and also found several new birds for the city including its first Tree Pipit in the UK Ambassador's garden.

Mr Townshend said that when he was a boy he spent a lot of time bird-watching in the dunes at Winterton.

Terry Townshend, 48, from Winterton, now lives in Beijing where he advises the Chinese government on environmental issues. Picture: Submitted.Terry Townshend, 48, from Winterton, now lives in Beijing where he advises the Chinese government on environmental issues. Picture: Submitted.

"I think that's what sparked my interest in nature and the environment," he said.

He has previously said, in an interview with the South China Morning Post: "My earliest memory of being interested in birds was when I was four years old.

"I remember asking my parents what the names of the birds in the garden were and they didn't know, so they bought me a book.

"I was lucky to have grown up near Winterton Dunes, a really good nature reserve."

Mr Townshend went to Winterton Primary School and then Flegg High School in Martham before completing his A-Levels at Great Yarmouth College of Further Education.

He studied environmental economics at the University of Essex.

His parents, Des and Pam, 86 and 81, moved from Suffolk in 1954 and his father built a house in Winterton where they live to this day.

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Mr Townshend said: "When I was younger I never wanted to live in London, because it was a bigger city, there were too many people, but I ended up spending seven years in London, working for the government, and then I ended up in Beijing."

He returns to Winterton once or twice a year

"I always really enjoy my visits back home," he said.

"I love the environment there and I love to take walks on the beach and do some bird-watching.

"It's a place I really love," he said.

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