Former Chairman of National Park Authority receives MBE honour

Mrs Mary Taylor’s award was announced in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List on Friday 10th June and Members of the Authority, staff and partner organisations who worked with her, have joined to offer Mrs Taylor congratulations on the announcement of the award that celebrates her many years of service to the environment.  Mrs Taylor stood down from the National Park Authority in October 2010 having served her full time as a Member – some 13 years – and was the longest serving Chairman for the Authority with four years at the helm.

For many years Mrs Taylor has given her time in outstanding and dedicated service to the volunteer sector and to the environment in Wales.  During the 1960s before she came to the National Park, she worked as a nurse and as a volunteer in various roles, supporting single mothers, the Disabled Income Group, Deaf Awareness and Women’s Rights.  A former pupil of Abergavenny Girls High School, she is a former Governor of Crickhowell High School, former Member of the Brecon and Radnor Community Health Council and a former Member for Glas Cymru, a not-for-profit body of Welsh Water/Dwr Cymru. In her role as Chairman of Bannau Brycheiniog National Park Authority, she steered the Authority through a particularly challenging period of change and restructure. During her tenure Mrs Taylor helped to fight campaigns against sand and gravel extraction, gas pipelines and opencast mining in the Bannau Brycheiniog National Park.  Although her 13 year term as a Member for the National Park Authority has ended, Mrs Taylor remains a Vice Chairman of the Campaign for National Parks (CNP). 

Mrs Taylor said that her extensive community work and environmental commitment would not have been possible without the support of her family and the many people she has worked with over the years.  She said:  “I have been very privileged to work with some exceptional people and this award reflects on all those talented, dedicated and hardworking members and staff in the National Park.  I am grateful for the honour of this award and I am very touched to have been nominated. It goes without saying that I do miss working for the National Park Authority but I know that my friends, former Members and colleagues are as committed as I am to protecting our beautiful National Parks in the years ahead.”

Cllr Eric Saxon, current Chairman of Bannau Brycheiniog National Park Authority said:  “I am delighted that Mary has received the recognition she deserves for her outstanding contribution to the environment.  Her dedication, integrity and commitment to improve has shaped many changes to this Authority in the last few years and this is a just reward for all those years of service.”

Mrs Julie James, Deputy Chairman of Bannau Brycheiniog National Park Authority said:  “It has been a great privilege to work with Mary over the past few years.  She is dedicated to public service, hard working, focussed and compassionate, whilst always retaining a sense of realism and humour.  She truly deserves this great honour for her service to the environment and we are all delighted for her.”

Cllr Caerwyn Roberts OBE, Chairman for Snowdonia National Park Authority said:  “Mary is a beacon of inspiration to all those who have had the privilege to work with her.  She took her role as Chairman of the Bannau Brycheiniog very seriously and put the Authority on a firm foundation to face the future.  I have come to know her very well over the years and have witnessed her exceptional dedication both to the cause of National Parks generally and to the Bannau Brycheiniog in particular.  This is an honour for Mary that should inspire those believers in National Parks to remain committed to preserving these great areas for the generations that follow.”

Mr John Cook, Chief Executive for Bannau Brycheiniog National Park Authority said:  “The Authority is delighted that Mary’s contribution to the environment in general and National Parks in particular has been recognised.  Mary’s term as Chairman ended last year but under her mentorship and exceptional leadership, this Authority went from strength to strength.  In my experience working with Mary, it is her vision, openness to other’s thoughts and obvious love and enthusiasm for embracing the importance of the National Park that have been a cornerstone in delivering our improvements.  We are a small National Park family but her tireless devotion to National Parks makes this award highly deserved.  On behalf of Bannau Brycheiniog National Park Authority I offer her many congratulations.”

Mrs Taylor will be invited to Buckingham Palace to meet the Queen in the next few months.