Congratulations to the recipients of the 2020 BMC Volunteer Awards. From GB Paraclimbing team member and youth coach to a hill-walking rep extraordinaire and a local area star, all of them are well deserving of their award.
BMC President Lynn Robinson says: “It was an absolute pleasure to surprise the 2020 recipients of the BMC awards: George Band, Rehan Siddiqui and Young Volunteer in virtual meetings with them.
Even though the awards won’t be presented in person this year, that’ll have to wait until 2021, it’s still 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.
Ron Kenyon and Peter Judd are both worthy recipients of the prestigious George Band Award. Ron has carried out lengthy and wide-ranging voluntary work over his lifetime…and he shows no sign of slowing down. The voluntary work that Peter is involved in has had a huge impact on the BMC, its members and the wider hillwalking community.
What better person to receive the Rehan Siddiqui this year than Jesse Dufton. What an amazing few years he’s had, and a true inspiration to everyone. He is a role model in how disability need not prevent someone from pushing their limits in multiple areas of climbing.
I first had the pleasure of meeting Kody Bradley, the Young Volunteer Award winner, at a youth climbing competition. It was really great to meet someone who started out through the youth competitions and who is now putting an outstanding commitment back into them.
Thank you also for those who nominated people for awards this year. I look forward to meeting Ron, Peter, Jesse and Kody in 2021 to formally present them with their awards”.
Read on to find out more about this year's recipient's achievements:
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 2020 award recipients are longstanding volunteers Peter Judd and Ron Kenyon.
Anybody involved with the hillwalking activities of the BMC will know Peter and appreciate the extraordinary depth of service he has provided to the organisation. He is passionate about hillwalking, the countryside and the people who make the BMC a diverse and thriving community.
To name but a few of his achievements, Peter is a longstanding and proactive Hillwalking Rep for the Peak Area, co-organisor of 2020 BMC Hillwalking Event and 2018 BMC Hillwalking Symposium, a vocal advocate for the Hills 2 Oceans campaign and The Climate Project. He organised the Mend Our Mountains launch walk at ShAFF 2018, and was instrumental in the success of the Great Ridge Light Night event, which garnered national media coverage. He has been the Chair of the Hillwalking Implementation Group since 2017 and supports the national network of hillwalking reps.
Even if you don’t think of yourself as a hillwalker, even if you’re not a member of the BMC, Peter’s work has probably had a positive impact on your experiences with the organisation and in the outdoors. Peter is a champion of hillwalking, and an ally to hillwalkers
Ron has been a committed volunteer in the world of mountaineering. He has also been active in developing new routes in the Lake District and further afield throughout his climbing career. Here is just some of the volunteer work he has done:
He was a founder member of Eden Valley Mountaineering Club and has been the driving force that kept the club active and he gives freely of his time with new and prospective members often at the expense of his own climbing.
He has also organised for a number of years (1999-2006 / 2015-2019), Youth Meets for the FRCC/BMC. He has encouraged young climbers on a one-to-one basis for many years introducing them to safe practice but also firing their imagination about climbing through his infectious enthusiasm. He was also ahead of the game when it came to competition climbing and organised climbing competitions at Penrith wall focussing largely on children before the time of a wider national competition structure. Early participants were Emma Twyford, James McHaffie and Adam Hocking.
He is the Access Officer for the Eden Valley. This is a very active role as a number of crags have had access issues for climbing over the years, is also the BMC Lakes Area Secretar, was a trustee of Mountain Heritage Trust and was an active member of Penrith Mountain Rescue Team for many years (1967 – 92).
In 2007 he rejuvenated The Cumbria Bolt Fund during the BMC’s better bolt campaign. The wider Cumbrian climbing community will know him as the driving force that led to the building of the Penrith Climbing Wall. His passion for sharing his love of the sport with others and his selfless giving up of time to this end make him an inspiration.
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 2020 award recipient is GB Paraclimbing Team member and 'Climbing Blind' rockstar Jesse Dufton.
Jesse has volunteered for BMC by being a guest speaker at BMC area meetings and similarly giving time as a speaker at BMC sponsored events.
He is inspiring to BMC members in his well prepared presentations about his passion for climbing, his ambitions as a climber and member of the GB Paraclimbing team and as an example of diversity. Since an early age he has climbed, although he was born with very poor vision which has deteriorated and is now severely visually impaired (he is only just able to distinguish light from dark).
However the nomination is more about what he has done for diversity and inclusion in climbing across the UK. His recent ascent of The Old Man of Hoy with his climbing partner (and now wife) is an unparalleled achievement, the first blind person to lead it (and by the E1 route).
He is also determined to succeed in the competitive para-climbing world as a member of GB Team and is a medallist at international climbing championships, most recently gold in the Dutch Championships in the B1+B2 categories.
He climbs trad and sport, has ice and Alpine climbing ascents and an expedition to Greenland to his name. Jessie is a fantastic ambassador for diversity in climbing, as he is for climbing generally; he is an individual who has achieved great things as a climber, but has also shared these experiences and shown what can be achieved, even with a visual impairment. A worthy recipient of the Rehan Siddiqui Award.
The Young Volunteer of the Year Award
The 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 2020 award recipient is Kody Bradley.
Kody volunteered to act as one of the Area Co-ordinators for Yorkshire and North East two years ago and has since helped to organise the running of the Youth Climbing Series. He gives up his time to climbing coaching and competitions and fits this in with his working shift pattern. He is a very dedicated member of the team and his time and effort is appreciated.
Anyone helping to deliver a YCS puts in a lot of effort and can have a really big effect on the young people they engage with and the tone they set in the events. It's great to see a young person as an Area Youth Co-ordinator so that competitors see other opportunities to get involved with climbing in addition to coaching.
For 2020, the BMC commissioned artist Andy Parkin to create unique sculptures to be given to the winners. Due to the AGM being held virtually this year, the award winners will be invited to the 2021 AGM to recieve their award at the President's dinner.
Some of the trophies to be awarded
Watch: BMC President Lynn Robinson talk to Andy Parkin about the inspiration for the trophies
Find out more about the BMC Volunteer Awards
Details of the nominations process for the 2021 awards will be announced later this year.
As the climbing walls, crags and mountains start to open, we wanted to say thanks to every BMC member who supported us through the Coronavirus crisis.
From weekly Facebook Lives and GB Climbing home training videos, to our access team working to re-open the crags and fight for your mountain access, we couldn’t have made it without you.
If you liked what we did, then tell your friends about us: www.thebmc.co.uk/join