Sunday, June 28, 2009

Michael Griffith CBE 1934 - 2009

While I was presiding at the Annual General Meeting of the Campaign for the Protection of Rural Wales on Saturday afternoon, my distinguished predecessor in the position of President, Mr Michael Griffith CBE collapsed and died as walking on a hillside in Snowdonia. This sad occurrence is reported on the BBC here. Michael was 75 years old and as far as I knew in good health. He served on a wide range of public bodies, and was a wise man with good judgement. My strongest memory of him is a discussion he and I shared at a Royal Welsh Showin the early 1990s, about some of his ideas for promoting agri-environment schemes in Wales. At the time he was Chairman of the Countryside Council for Wales, and I was Chairman of the Development Board for Rural Wales. I was excited about his ideas, which eventually became reality in the form of a successful grant scheme named Tir Gofal.

He was content to describe himself as a 'crusty old Tory'. He was also a friend of mine, and a very good friend of Wales. Everyone involved with the CRRW are very sad to learn of his death at too young an age, but I can think of no more apt way for this great countryman of Wales to go than walking on a hillside in Snowdonia.


BG said...

I am very saddened by the news. I had met him a number of times, always pleasent,thoughtfull, polite and interesting to talk to, a true gentleman.

He talked for ages with me once about his interests, which included the Mabinogion.

A true friend of the Welsh countryside and will be much missed. My thoughts are with his family.

Anonymous said...

Michael was indeed a polite and thoughfull servant of Wales - very much in the " big tent " tradition of involving as many people as possible on the very many quangos he served on - at one time having so many that it worked out at over 8 days a week!

He was years ahead of his time in recognising the Wales demention and was not afraid to stand up to the " little England" section of his party while not taking his eye off the rural dimention that many saw of little use - other than maintaining the farming vote.

A genuine love of hunting, fishing and shooting went side by side with a love of working with young people on conservation projects and the new " green agenda" a set of views that to some seemed / but not to him a little at odds with each other.

I enjoyed serving with him on Clwyd Health Authority - where he was a fair, tolerant and often generous to young ( and elected) members...who raised local issues and insisted on consultation proceedures and meetings whre he was perhaps less within his own comfort zone.

I only had one public fall out with him when elected members were removed from Health bodies - being quoted (wrongly) saying that all North Wales health bodies were being run by a chosen - elite of minor, tory , squires!!

He was not upset with me - i was told by a mutual friend with the words "tory" or " squires" or indeed " elite" but in fact "minor"!!

Glyn - you are quite right in your generous praise of a good servant of Wales who was never "minor" in his efforts on our behalf.

J Ll said...

Good post Glyn, and a proper tribute to a fine man. By the way, his name was Griffith - no "s".

David Jones MP has also posted an excellent tribute on his blog.

Anonymous said...

The gentleman's name was Griffith. Can't you correct it, please, out of respect?