Congratulations to the recipients of the 2021 BMC Volunteer Awards. The deserving winners are volunteers from across a wide range of BMC areas, who have all been instrumental in contributing to the BMC's work in access, technical committee, youth development, paraclimbing and our equity committees.
It’s incredibly important to recognise and thank all BMC volunteers for the incredible amount of work they are doing, alongside BMC staff, during this global pandemic.
Thank you also for those who nominated people for awards this year. We look forward to meeting them when we are able to formally present them with their awards. Read on to find out more about the achievements of this year's recipients:
The George Band Award
The George Band Award recognises people who have played a significant role in the BMC’s work over an extended period of time. The 2021 award recipients are longstanding volunteers Bob Moulton and Alun Huyton.
Bob has dedicated a lifetime of voluntary work to the BMC locally as well as in other areas of the UK. He has shown an exemplary and exceptional voluntary contribution to the BMC’s work and as a Chair of the HRMG, Bob was involved with the BMC’s acquisition of Stone Farm Rocks in 2002.
Bob is, and has been for a very long time, at the core of what happens on all sandstone outcrops, and not just the BMC owned ones. At nearly 80 years old, he’s still as sharp as a button on the emails and very rarely misses a meeting. He is also one of regular attendees to our Sandstone Volunteer workdays and has been for many years.
It’s difficult to summarise all his input, but in summary it involves:
Member of the South West Area Committee for about four years in the late 1960s /early 1970s.
Chair of the Harrison’s Rocks Management Group (HRMG) from 1997 to 2005.
Chaired the BMC Future Policy Review Steering Group between 2003 and 2005.
Has been a member of the BMC Land and Property Trust since its formation in 2005.
For the Royal Navy & Royal Marines Mountaineering Club, Bob wrote/edited the 1966 and 1978 Devon guidebooks as well as the 1970, 1974 and 1980 Lundy guidebooks and various supplements.
Bob was Vice President of the Climbers’ Club 1990-3
Alan joined the BMC Technical Committee in 1985 and has been a regular attendee and valuable contributor ever since. He originally joined, and later Chaired, the BMC’s Equipment Investigation Panel, which was a sub-committee of the Technical Committee. At this time there were no EN standards for mountaineering equipment, and failures were a frequent occurrence.
In the background the panel worked hard, analysing failures and using their knowledge to help understand what was going wrong. Alan was a key part of this effort with his analytical skills and background as an experienced and skilled engineer. Up until this point it had been optional to apply for a UIAA Safety Label, but in the early 90s EN standards became mandatory in Europe. These standards were based on the earlier work of the UIAA and were heavily influenced by the findings made by Alan and his team. The result, as Alan succinctly put it, is "Gear doesn't really break any more."
Alan worked on the BMC technical booklets covering crampons and ice axes, care and maintenance and other useful topics. This laid the solid base from which we continue to work today. After giving up many, many hours of his time and providing his extensive engineering expertise, Alan has finally decided to lay down his slide rule and the loss of his expertise and clarity of thought will be felt by the committee.
The climbers and mountaineers of today often take for granted equipment which is fit for purpose and which allows them to enjoy their sport in the knowledge that it will work as intended. This enviable situation is due in no small part to the efforts of people such as Alan.
The Rehan Siddiqui Award
The Rehan Siddiqui Award recognises those who have made a significant voluntary contribution to the BMC’s commitment to increasing opportunities for under-represented groups to participate in climbing, hill walking or mountaineering and the work of the BMC. The 2021 award recipients are:
Andy established the charity Blackdog Outdoors in November 2018 to improve the wellbeing of those affected by poor mental health through a reconnection with nature. He has planned 23 walking events and three outdoor climbing events since April 2019, which have all been run as BMC events, and would have been more had there not been a four-month hiatus due to the COVID lockdown. These events have all been free to attend, have been held throughout UK, and have been attended by 268 people affected by poor mental health. Andy is also a proud member of the BMC Equity Steering Group where he represents the Mental Health subgroup. As well as all his volunteering for the BMC he is a great advocate of using BMC activities to improve the wellbeing of those affected by poor mental health.
READ: Mental Health and the Outdoors
LISTEN: Andrew discussing mental health and the outdoors on the Ordnance Survey podcast
WATCH: Mindful Climber on BMC TV
Graeme has been a real driving force for improving access to climbing and walking for people with a range of disabilities. He helped start and deliver the Climbing for all: Disability awareness in climbing courses and pioneered the same for technical advisers. Graeme helped instigate the BMC Para-climbing series in 2011 and the para-climbing team as well as having given a vast amount of time, energy and great knowledge for the Equity Steering Group.
READ: Graeme's Volunteer Story
As well as improving access for people, Graeme has also increased the visibility in BMC media output for people who have a disability. He has been a real asset to the BMC for more than a decade.
Young Volunteer Award
Young Volunteer Award recognises those young people who have made a significant voluntary contribution to the BMC and its commitment to supporting participation in climbing, hill walking and mountaineering. The 2021 award recipients are Rehna Yaseen and Lewis Perrin Williams.
Rehna has been a member of the Equity Steering Group for the past few years and has helped out in organising the BMC Equity Symposium in 2019, engaging ethnic minority groups in East Manchester to attend. She has given her input on the BMC ethnic diversity strategy as well as delivered a webinar on youth engagement through her work with the Lindley Educational Trust. She is a real asset in encouraging ethnically diverse young women to experience the outdoors and engages well with everyone she meets.
Lewis Perrin Williams
Lewis started engaging with the BMC by attending the BMC Youth Meets from the age of 14. Since finishing being a participant, he has continued to attend as a volunteer. He has given his time and commitment on numerous youth meets and is keen on giving back to young people, by using the experience that he has gained through his involvement in the BMC. As well as being a worthy recipient of this award, he is a slate climber extraordinaire, being exceptionally skilled on slab climbs.
Lord Greaves Award
Following the death of BMC Patron, Lord Tony Greaves in March 2021, President at the time Lynn Robinson proposed an additional volunteer award, the Lord Greaves Award for Voluntary Contribution to BMC Access and Conservation work. As Lord Greaves was instrumental in securing the passage of the Countryside and Rights of Way Bill through Parliament, this award serves as a lasting legacy for all the access work he did on behalf of the BMC. The inaugural recipient of the award goes to Louise Hawson.
Coming from a background in ecology consultancy, Louise offers up an incredibly valuable skillset in her voluntary role. She is secretary for the Stanage Forum Steering Group (the stake-holder organisation which contributes to planning for Stanage and the North Lees Estate) through which she has played a pivotal role in shaping the BMCs response to the PDNPAs attempts to divide up and sell parts of the Stanage estate). Louise is an invaluable volunteer for the BMC not only as a committed and passionate local Peak District Access Rep, but also through her work sitting on the Access Management Group. Louise is also the Chair of the BMC’s Sustainability Working Group.
Educating the outdoor community and outdoor industry on sustainability is an area where the BMC is incredibly lucky to be able to draw on Louise’s professional expertise and experience, and she lends significant knowledge and credibility to the organisation's work in this area.
She devotes considerable time and effort too at the local level representing the BMC on the Stanage Forum, with the Eastern Moors Partnership and Peak District National Park - all incredibly important partnerships where her network and relationship building has resulted in numerous wins for climbers and walkers over the years.
Due to the BMC AGM being held virtually this year, the award winners will recieve their award at a date tbc.
WATCH: BMC Past President Lynn Robinson talk to Andy Parkin about the inspiration for some of the awards presented to recipients
Find out more about the BMC Volunteer Awards
Details of the nominations process for the 2022 awards will be announced later this year.