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.