David Musson: The devoted fundraiser

David Musson sitting surrounded by books
Published : 10 Feb 2016

David Musson, who has died aged 79, was a retired National Trust land agent and regional director. He became a devoted fundraiser for the National Trust in retirement through bookselling and stamp selling – supporting many projects at Felbrigg, Blickling and elsewhere, raising over £1 million. He was also an enthusiastic ornithologist.

A devoted and loving son...

He was the devoted and loving son of Francis and Margaret (nee Brice) Musson. His father as a young man had played cricket for Lancashire, and served in the royal flying corps in the first world war. David’s early years were in Rochester in Kent, but he then spent some of his schooldays in Washingon, DC, USA where his father was working with the British Air Commission from 1941.  At the end of the war they returned to the UK and David was sent first to King’s School, Rochester and then at 13 went onto Tonbridge School, where he joined four other Musson cousins. 

Determined to work for the trust...

From Tonbridge he went to London University, to read Land Management, as he was impressed by the work of the National Trust and determined to work for the Trust.  After graduation, he then joined the National Trust where he spent the whole of his working life very happily, as land agent in East Anglia, and then regional director for the Southern region. During his period as regional director he lived in a flat at Polesden Lacey where he looked after his invalid, widowed mother Margaret for many years.

Instigator of two second-hand bookshops...

Within weeks of David’s arrival in Norfolk for his first job, the squire of Felbrigg Hall, Wyndham Ketton-Cremer, left his estate to the National Trust and it was David’s responsibility to oversee the transfer. When he retired from the Trust, he moved to live in Sheringham – with fine views for bird watching. He took on his first voluntary job was as a room steward at Felbrigg, where in 1996 he instigated the opening of a second-hand bookshop, the first of its kind anywhere in the National Trust. A second bookshop opened here at Blickling in 1999, where David also later opened our second-hand stamp shop. David was a member of the steering committee that set up the North Norfolk Association of National Trust members. Through these means he raised over £1 million for the National Trust over 20 years.  

A life dedicated to conservation of the English countryside...

He had many relatives in Lancashire and elsewhere - Mussons, Troops, and Thompsons - and was also happily traced and contacted by his birth sister last year.  A tall dignified figure, he was also a gentle, amiable, clear thinking man who devoted his life to the conservation of the English countryside through his work with the National Trust.

David will be greatly missed by us all...

" He was a good man, a man who selflessly raised over a £1 million for the National Trust through doing what he loved, and making people like me, smile."
- Seb, Visitor Reception Manager