Designed and hand painted by Kevin Kimber who illustrates for the BBC and the Frankfurt Book Fair to name a few clients it's truly a world class outdoor image that constitutes nature, a love for the outdoors and the River Wye. Besides this it embodied for Paul and Mark family and friendship also as well as striving to do their best it being inspired by the elite SAS regiment. Health was always at its core and so, with an image now representing all they valued in life, they later employed it as their company logo because they visualized events that were clean or heading that way.
The Turquoise Sound Company was set up after the aforementioned exhibition to organize these events, which were going to be designed to celebrate the Great Outdoors via the River Wye catchment. It was their aim to employ the most inspiring locations in the 4,000 Square KM catchment thus allying the events to the outdoor market. To know the venue, namely the Wye, they started walking the rivers. First it was the Lugg and then it was all tributaries that made up one of Britain's favourite rivers visited by millions of people including that of Ray Mears.
Although many awesome ideas were explored the events and or concerts didn't materialize. What did emerge more strongly amid visions of awesome events was a sense of place and renewal after many years of feeling outcast. It was the ideal tonic for depressions that had manifested over time as a result of a tough healing journey. It was though truly an amazing journey for twin brothers that needed to connect and generate goodwill within. Together they covered over 300 miles of the Wye system. They experienced its mountains, forests, waters, valleys and its people as documented on this website. With over 30 wild camps in addition it was a journey where life unfolded to reveal the best inside them both as well as the Wye and throughout it all the Kingfisher remained.
Upon Paul's sad death in November 2016 Mark was tasked with continuing the exploration of the Wye and himself. Towards the end of Paul's life, it was this and the outdoors that had taken precedence. It breathed life into their relationship and revitalized their outlook. As a result, the Kingfisher logo has been transferred from the Turquoise Sound Company to the Wye Explorer project where it feels most at home. It's been on a long and arduous journey typical of any major adventure. In this sense the picture or brand speaks of determination, diversity, beauty, friendship and above all life outdoors where mental health and wellbeing is there for anyone to discover amid the Wye and its arteries that flow through a region of the UK that Paul and Mark got to know as one of the most inspirational.
At the same time Terry's sons Paul and Mark (founders) struggled with addictions and all the social and mental ramifications that came with it. They had always spent a life outdoors swimming in the River Wye and walking practically everywhere but it wasn't until their father died that the Kingfisher really came into sharp focus.
In recovery from various toxins they would sit near the river Wye where they would hear the bird first before seeing it fly low in resolute flight. With its brilliant Turquoise blue, it would lift their spirits bringing their father, a lifelong inspiration, close once more. Rare to many but widely known it was a motivating force in terms of healing mentally, emotionally and physically.
What's in the striking Wye Explorer Logo? What's the story? And what does it represent? Many of us know that a picture can say a lot of things in an instant. The Kingfisher here is no different and although some may think of it as dynamic, beautiful, regal, efficient, resplendent or even a true survivor for us there is a story attached to it. Here we'd like to tell the story of our association with this magnificent bird giving you a better idea as to what exploring the Wye river is all about for us as we continue to delve ever deeper into it.
It started back in 1989 when the founders father Terry Jickells died of Cancer. He'd been retired from the SAS for a few years but was still close to his former Colleagues. Author and survival expert John Lofty Wiseman was one such friend. Lofty would visit Terry often when ill and together they would speak of the Kingfisher that visited the pond outside of his hospital window. Upon his death Lofty Wiseman purchased a statue of a Kingfisher for Terry's wife Pat the founder's mother. Other sculptures and images were subsequently purchased and Ex SAS Operative Jo Lock painted one all in memory of Jick. As you can imagine Kingfishers began to emerge in the household.
I'm inspired by the Wye
The Kingfishers brilliant blue Turquoise is not the result of pigment in its feathers but of sunlight. It's a solar powered bird.
There are 92 Species of Kingfisher world -wide the African Dwarf at 9 and 12 g in weight is the smallest whilst Australia's laughing kookaburra is the largest weighing up to 500gm.
The Kingfisher never went away as Paul and Mark continued to find healing. In fact, as their affinity with it grew so did their willingness to adopt it as their mascot for an event, they envisaged in the centre of Hereford in 2000. A sound technology event called 'Sound Evolution' it appeared the ideal image to employ what with hearing it first before seeing it fly low over the river. Of course, being a brilliant natural wonder, it added colour to the mix also. With no money to pay for the event they did a marathon sponsored swim adjudicated by Lofty Wiseman and others. Covering a massive 24,000 meters they raised the money for the exhibition and the crucial logo, which you see here today.
Photo by - Mike. Taken at Herefords Castle Pool