A Proud day for National Park Trainee Wardens

Not one, but two of this year’s trainee wardens were at the National Park Visitor Centre yesterday to receive the very first Huw Price Volunteer Awards. Richard Taylor (23) and Steffan Edwards (21) were presented with the awards by Bannau Brycheiniog National Park Authority Chairman Mel Doel and Louise and Henry Garnon-Price.

Huw Price passed away in 2014 and a fund was set up in his memory, the awards celebrate the passion Huw had for working for the Bannau Brycheiniog National Park Authority and his commitment to the volunteers. Louise Garnon-Price not only gave out the Huw Price Awards but also collected one on behalf of her husband, as Chairman Mel Doel presented her with a posthumous Award – the Order of National Parks to recognise Huw’s outstanding contribution.

Receiving the award with young son Henry, Louise said:

“This is a proud day but a very emotional one. Huw was the volunteer co-ordinator with the National Park Authority and he would have loved to see what Steffan and Richard have achieved. The posthumous award of the Order of the National Parks to Huw means a great deal and one day I think Henry will look at it and understand how much other people valued the work his father did. “

The new Huw Price Volunteer Award will be presented annually and follows the criteria used by the UK National Parks Young Volunteer Awards. The two worthy winners were nominated by the managers at the National Park Authority who oversaw their work.  The criteria included showing how the nominee had overcome barriers and developed personally through their volunteering

Richard Taylor and Steffan Edwards secured the nominations this year after spending many hours working as volunteers. Steffan donated his time and energy working as part of the team down at Craig-y-nos Country Park.  The nomination described Steffan’s enthusiasm to learn, explaining that he always wants to understand how and why things are done so that he can learn to do them independently.  He genuinely cares about his community and put in long hours on events.  Other volunteers often commented what a pleasure it was to work with him and he possesses excellent personal skills.  Richard volunteered in the East of the Park. He was nominated for his amazingly positive attitude. The nomination mentioned that he has always been reliable, flexible, hardworking, committed and enthusiastic. He was never late, never missed a day, and was prepared to undertake arduous tasks even in terrible weather.   Both Richard and Steffan are now part of the trainee warden scheme – funded through the Heritage Lottery Fund’s skills for the future programme.

Mel Doel, Chairman of the Bannau Brycheiniog National Park Authority commented:

“Our volunteers are so important to us, I never cease to be amazed by how generous they are with their time and commitment.  It is wonderful to be here honouring these two young men.  In part as a result of the experience they have gained from volunteering, both have succeeded in securing places on this year’s intake of the very popular warden trainee scheme which will give them more practical experience and lead to vocational qualifications – I hope that this award will show any potential employers what a valuable contribution Richard and Steffan could make when they graduate from the trainee course next year.”

Richard Taylor, receiving the award said “Volunteering has given me a direction in life and the skills to get onto the trainee scheme,  I really feel that this is the chance to do something worthwhile.  I mainly volunteered in the area around Abergavenny. I was working on rights of way – putting in stiles, and I was involved in a variety of conservation work – planting heather seed, burning, taking part in grouse counts and heather surveying.”

Steffan Edwards added

“It was a great honour to get the award, I have really appreciated the chance to be a volunteer.  I learnt a whole range of skills from the Craig-y-nos warden but also from other experienced volunteers who shared their knowledge and enthusiasm with me–there’s a real family spirit among the volunteers at Craig–y-nos Country Park.”