Simon King 1961 – 2013


Simon with a 32lb Mirror Carp he caught in Hertfordshire.

My older brother Simon King died yesterday. Simon was 52 and had been suffering from lung cancer. In the end it took him very quickly and he was in no pain, which we have to be thankful for.

Simon was well known and much admired in two separate fields – coarse fishing and reptile keeping. Simon was by all acounts an exceptional angler, and a member of the Osprey Specimen Group.

In January this year he was on the front page of Anglers website Fishing  Magic and in Anglers Mail when he landed a massive 8lb 14oz Chub.

Simon was also well known for his expertise in exotic pets, especially reptiles. Simon had been keeping snakes as a hobby for many years, and gradually became an expert in them, including breeding snakes. Simon had his own exotic pet shop in Palmers in Parkway Camden in for nearly 10 years. When Palmers closed he opened his own shop Kings Aquatic and Reptile World in Mornington Crescent (a joke not lost on him as a keen fan of I’m Sorry I haven’t a Clue). His shop became a popular place for people interested in exotic pets to congregate and it was also used frequently for filming.

Before Simon entered the world of exotic pets he was an accomplished bass player in a number of bands some of which nearly broke through – the last one being The Keatons. I think after the Keatons he got disillusioned with the life on the road and decided to concentrate on Reptiles and Fishing.

Simon was a very talented sports player at school and also excelled in music, playing cornet and piano.

Naturally siblings have rivalries, but I admired Simon greatly for his independent spirit and his total refusal to compromise or adopt an orthodox life. When he was interested in something he did it exceptionally well and gave it all his considerable focus and intellect.

I am going to set up a facebook memorial page for Simon so anyone who knew him can post memories, anecdotes, photos or anything else on there.

About Miles King

UK conservation professional, writing about nature, politics, life. All views are my own and not my employers. I don't write on behalf of anybody else.
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31 Responses to Simon King 1961 – 2013

  1. nirgunapa says:

    I know it’s a cliche, but I am really sorry for your loss. He sounds like an really interesting and enthusiastic guy – I would have love to have met him. Thinking of you and your family. Take care.

    • milesking10 says:

      thanks very much Colin. He was a very interesting guy – very knowledgeable on all things herpetological and also pretty good on arachnids too. He was also, as you have seen, quite an angler.


  2. warren says:

    So very sorry to hear this news.

  3. Dear Miles, Although I didn’t know Simon, I am so sorry to hear this news. I am thinking of you.

  4. Mark Avery says:

    Dear Miles, what a lovely tribute. Thinking of you. Mark

  5. Miles, I’d never heard you mention your brother before, but he sounds a remarkable guy and that is a very impressive tribute you have paid to him. It sounds like you both shared a dedication of approach to everything you did. I am thinking of you at this difficult time.

    • milesking10 says:

      Thanks very much Mike. Although we ended up in different places, we both felt deeply about nature. Simon enjoyed watching the wildlife while angling, almost as much as catching the big fish. And he studied his snakes, reptiles and spiders as diligently as any academic researcher.


  6. Tim (Luffers) Luffman says:

    Met Simon through both work and fishing. Real genuine guy and I was shocked when I found out he had died. RIP fella and thoughts go to your family.

  7. Peter Hayes says:

    I never had the opportunity to meet Simon but we exchanged emails and private messages many times over the last couple of years. It was thanks to his and Bob’s approach of chub fishing with boilies and bolt rigs, that gave me and my dad some tremendous days chub fishing. In fact following his advice my dad caught his personal best fish of 6lb 3oz from our local river. I was also a fellow member of the Osprey Specimen Group until the end of last year and even though I wasn’t a member very long he was always very free with his knowledge. I shall miss our little chats and he will always be an inspiration to me for the rest of my life. I owe him so much but I can now never repay him for all his kindness. He shall me missed by all and my thoughts go out to his family.

    • milesking10 says:

      Thanks very much Peter – that’s very kind of you.

    • milesking10 says:

      Sorry – I didnt reply earlier Peter. I really appreciate your lovely comment – I’ve set up a Facebook page “memories of simon king.” Please take a look. I’m thinking about transferring across all the fantastic comments I’ve seen from various people, onto it.

      Simon’s funeral is on 12th September at City of London Cemetery at 1130. Please come if you can.

  8. helen says:

    Hi Miles it’s Helen so sorry to here about Simon please give your mum a big hug from me and you an Annabelle and the kids I,m sure that they would of thought the world of their Uncle

  9. David Hodd says:

    Miles – this must be really tough for you with your brother passing away, but it is touching to hear you speak of him in your blog. He survives through the memories and attitudes of those around him, so you are right to share with us his humour, values and pictures of him with bloody big fish (Putin eat your heart out). Thank you, and thinking of you.

    • milesking10 says:

      Thanks very much David – you’re very kind. Simon liked doing things well, when he turned his mind to something. It was true of fishing and herpetology – in both areas he was well respected and admired and developed significant expertise. He wasn’t overly impressed by “professionals”, as he often knew far more about their subjects than they did!

  10. Pierre vella says:

    Im sorry for your loss. I knew Simon 20 years ago when i was coming from Malta to buy some reptiles and I always found him as very helpful and full of knowledge. Its sad to loose to early such nice person.

  11. Nick Smith says:

    I learnt of Simon’s untimely death a few weeks ago, and was very sorry to hear of it. He made a great contribution in herpetoculture and was quite robust in defence of the hobby. I met him a couple of times some years ago and got on well with him as he was serious about the essentials but also enjoyable and amusing company for all the best reasons. I wish I had known earlier that he was ill. RIP Simon, thanks for your contributions to our lives.

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  14. Ennio Tabone says:

    I’m so sorry to hear of Simons death, I used the shop all the time before moving to Dorset, he was exceptionally knowledgeable and always helpful, it was genuine shock just now when I found out. He always had time for a chat and ever willing to give advice to a novice like me, a really nice bloke and a true gent.

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