For Baz Stokes the idea of working with wildlife in the rural location of Slimbridge seemed like a dream as a teenager.
Mr Stokes was evacuated from London during the blitz and after his move back to the City longed to return to the countryside.
Mr Stokes, now 77, left school at 15 and his first job was working at London Zoo mucking out the giraffes.
He had heard about Slimbridge from children’s hour on the radio and from naturalists working at the Zoo.
So aged 15 he wrote to Peter Scott asking if he could work there but received a rejection letter.
Peter’s reply letter dated 28 February 1949 said he would love to be able to offer him something but he was afraid he didn’t have anything for him at the time.
Mr Stokes, who went on to spend the majority of his career working as a prototype engineer and now lives in Taunton, visited Slimbridge Wetland Centre for the first time on April 4 – 63 years after he received the letter.
“I had the letter framed from Peter and I would say he inspired me as an artist. His pictures of geese taking off really sparked my imagination and I started painting landscapes and wildlife as a teenager”.
“ I’m a member of various art groups now and still paint”.
Recently I passed the Slimbridge signs on the motorway and said to my group of friends “I’d love to go there, so we arranged a trip and here we are.”