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Garth John Raybould (1949-2021)

A lover of nature with a wealth of experience in environmental and engineering geology.

RaybouldGarth’s sudden and premature death on 21 August 2021, while walking near his home in Formby, came as a profound shock to his family, many friends, neighbours, and colleagues.  He was deeply loved and respected by all. He was a Christian who demonstrated care for humanity and the environment through the ways he lived his life.

Extensive career

Garth was an Associate Director in the Ground Engineering division of Atkins. He practised in various fields of applied geology for over 40 years and published several papers on aspects of environmental and mineral geology, as well as underground gas storage. He appeared as an expert witness in several public inquiries and in litigation. 


Garth attended Brierley Hill Grammar School, where a passion for the outdoors, including geology, fell walking, and bird watching, was nurtured.  In September 1967, he enrolled at University College of Wales Aberystwyth to study Geology. Garth fell in love with Jean in Aberystwyth and they were married in 1971. They lived in Aberaeron during the autumn to spring months and in a caravan during the summer when holiday visitors took over their flat.  Very happy days. Garth’s PhD supervisor was Dr John Phillips and his thesis was entitled “Studies in the variations in paragenetic sequence and zoning in the mineral veins of Cardiganshire and Montgomeryshire”. It concerned the role of hydraulic fracturing in the development of base-metal mineralisation, in a province from which the Romans were the first to exploit lead and zinc. Garth’s exploration occasionally involved canoeing with a head torch into disused, water-filled mine shafts (something that he neglected to tell his new bride about at the time).

After being awarded his PhD in 1973, Garth and Jean spent five years in Zambia where he worked as a mine geologist on the Copperbelt. His main responsibilities involved the geological controls associated with production and development, as well as the management of groundwater. In 1976, his son, Ben, was born.

A year after the family returned to the UK, while Garth was working for Merseyside County Council, Owen arrived (1980). Garth joined Atkins in 1988 and continued his work on groundwater protection, waste management, contaminated land investigation, mine stabilisation, and underground gas migration and storage. In recent years, he reviewed salt mine backfilling and stabilisation and provided risk assessments relating to underground gas storage in both salt caverns and depleted hydrocarbon fields.

Community and family

Garth was a valued counsellor at Holy Trinity Church and a gifted lay reader in Formby District. He was a Venture Scout Leader who enjoyed sailing and taking walking parties to North Wales, the Peak District, and the Lake District.

Sincere condolences are extended to Garth’s family, especially his grandchildren, Jack and Rosie. No doubt they will all remember his smile, humour, breadth of knowledge, and love of nature. It is to be hoped they can take some consolation from their memories and the way Garth lived his life. 

By Ben Johnson and Alan Lord

Pictured above: This photograph was taken whilst walking on the slopes of Moel Famau in North Wales.