Awards ceremony celebrates National Park Volunteers

The volunteers of the Bannau Brycheiniog National Park Authority were celebrated on Friday 7 April at a special awards ceremony. Held at the Authority Head Office in Brecon, the event was attended by National Park Authority members, volunteers, staff and many people from the Nepalese Gurkha community of Brecon.

Volunteers received two sets of Awards, the Huw Price Award and the UK National Parks’ Volunteer Awards:

The Huw Price Award recognises achievements of volunteers within the park. The award was set up by the Authority in honour of Huw Price, a National Park Volunteer Co-ordinator who tragically died. Huw’s widow Louise Price and their young son Henry Price, attended the ceremony to present these awards – one to individual volunteer Joe Minihane and the second to Guptaman Gurung on behalf of the Nepalese Community Footpath Group.

The success at local level in gaining the Huw Price Awards was reflected at National level with the same Bannau Brycheiniog’ volunteers winning two of the three available National Parks UK awards. Kathryn Cook, UK Director of National Parks UK was in attendance alongside Mel Doel, National Park Authority Chair to officially congratulate and present certificates to the winners of these awards. The first going once again to Joe Minhane for his outstanding contribution to volunteering at the National Park Visitor Centre. The other to the Nepalese Community Footpath group, many of whom attended the ceremony, for the outstanding work they have done on footpaths around Brecon. Group leader Guptaman Gurung was involved in a mentoring project with the National Park Authority, it was from this contact that the footpath project originated. The Gurkha Path as it is now known is very popular with local families and dog walkers.

Further congratulations went to Chris Evans, Volunteer Leader with the Authority’s Upland Volunteers group. Chris is the first volunteer in the park to achieve a John Muir Conserver Award.  This is a national scheme which recognizes an outstanding contribution to conservation. His project for John Muir included carrying out survey work on footpath use.

Mel Doel, Chairman of the National Park Authority added;

“Volunteers are the unsung heros of the National Park. We currently have 195 volunteers in the park and last year alone they contributed 13,000 hours or 345 weeks’ worth of their own time to helping look after this special landscape. We are immensely proud of our volunteer scheme and the staff who help run it. Their time, effort and enthusiasm makes a huge difference to ensuring the future of our National Park.”