Roger Jones MBE
It is with great sadness that we must announce that Roger Jones MBE passed away on the morning of Thursday 10 March 2016.
Roger was one of the founding members of OVMRO when it began operating out of Ogwen Cottage, and was a team member for 51 years. Having always lived in the Ogwen area, Roger became involved with mountain rescue through the Scout movement, when his father was Gwynedd Area County Commissioner. He joined the Scout outdoor activities centre at Yr Hafod in 1959, and was employed as a mechanical engineer at Bangor University.
During his time as a team member Roger gained something of a reputation for being clearly spoken, and was affectionately known as “Jones the Voice” following an incident where he was able to communicate with founding member Ron James that he needed to turn his radio on, when all others voices had failed.
Roger was a team leader with OVMRO from 1966. At the end of his tenure as a team leader, in 2010, the team was delighted that Roger was awarded an MBE for services to mountain rescue. In his usual way, as a team-player, Roger stated that the award was really for the Team rather than an individual.
Roger served on the Team Committee or as a co-opted officer for 50 years. He was elected as a Committee member in 1966 and served as Treasurer from 1972 to 1975. He was Chairman in 1990, and it was during this time that the first major renovation of Bryn Poeth occurred, his vision, along with others, transformed the Team into the semi professional organisation it is today.
He was co-opted as the team’s Transport Officer in 1995, and held this position until the time of his death. He was instrumental in the purchase of new vehicles for the team, and ensuring they were always ready to transport members and casualties both locally and more recently on callouts to flooded areas such as York and Cumbria.
Roger had a great interest in international rescue too, and attended the ICAR (International Commission for Alpine Rescue) conference on numerous occasions. He always extolled the benefits of networking at the conference, and continually encouraged other members to attend, he regarded the conference as a wonderful jolly and a hoot!
With such a wealth of experience, Roger always had lots of stories to tell. Everyone who met Roger will have enjoyed listening to his tales of the many rescues he took part in. Not only was he able to offer advice and words of wisdom, he was always encouraging new developments within the team, such as the Ogwen Stretcher, and he was always keen to encourage the younger generation.
Roger’s family, his wife Jill, two daughters Claire and Heather, and his son Geraint always supported his rescue activities, Geraint became a full team member in 2007 after spending a lot of time at base with his dad.
It was only fitting that the “Joe Hero award” at the team’s 50th Anniversary dinner in 2015 was presented to Jill in recognition of all the support that family members give to team members.
As Roger said during an interview for the team’s 50th Anniversary book “If I hadn’t enjoyed doing it, I’d have stopped doing it”. A great many people over the past 51 years will have been grateful that Roger enjoyed mountaineering and mountain rescue activities. He will be greatly missed by everyone who knew him.
Coming from a family with strong mountaineering links, he had lived in Capel Curig all of his life and was well known by many people in the area. He met Ann, his wife, while they were in their teens and they had been together ever since—child hood sweethearts who raised their two lads Gareth and Carwyn in the village. A true Capel family.
Ken was a stalwart of the team. Always there when needed, more often than not he would be the first one to base and he could be relied upon to make sure that everything was up and running before the rest of the team arrived. It was fitting that on his last night in hospital he had a glorious view of the Carneddau bathed in the setting sun. As if in a final tribute, an RAF Sea King helicopter took off from the hospital landing pad and flew past the window.
Ken was a kind and quiet person, always friendly, and always ready to help.
John, a member of OVMRO for over 36 years, tragically died in the Llanberis pass on 28th April 2009 while descending after completing a climb with his partner Lin.
John was originally from Wrexham. Here he joined The Scouts and through this organisation he was introduced to the mountains. Whilst staying at Hafod, the Scout hut in the Ogwen Valley, he was introduced to mountain rescue. He became a full member of Ogwen Valley Mountain Rescue Organisation in May 1973. Through this organisation he was introduced to the USAF PJ’s (airborne rescue troops trained to be dropped behind enemy lines to extract downed aircrew). These PJ’s, who were based in Woodbridge, Suffolk, used Snowdonia for training and became good friends of the Team.
John became attracted to the PJ’s life and in the early 1980’s he left Wales for the USA to join the USAF and qualified as a PJ. He travelled the world with them over the next 12 years or so. Through the PJ’s he was introduced to the big mountains of Alaska.
Leaving the USAF in the mid 1990’s he went to work in the Alaskan mountains. Through this John was introduced to the Denali National Park Service and high altitude mountain rescue on Denali (Mount McKinley) and the surrounding ranges.
John would spend 6 months of the year in Alaska, much of it at the Denali high altitude camp at 14,000 feet. During the other half of the year he would return to his home in Capel Curig.
John was never at home for long. He instructed in Mountain Rescue technical rope work, Wilderness First Aid and Search Management, which not only took him around Wales, England, Scotland and Ireland, but as far afield as South Africa and Hong Kong.
John leaves two children, his son David (20yrs) and daughter Rhiannon (17yrs). He loved taking them on mountain adventures from a young age.
John was a true professional in his fields, a real stalwart and the man to have with you when the going got tough on the mountains. Tributes to John are being sent from around the world. He will be missed by all those who knew him. It is a great tragedy that the man who did so much to assist those in trouble in the mountains for 36 years should lose his life at such an early age and on the mountains he loved.
Michael (Mick) Parsons
Mick died peacefully in hospital in Inverness on 30th April 2009, surrounded by his family, after a period of illness.
Mick became a Full Member in September 1977. At this time he had been an ambulance man serving in the Shrewsbury area before moving to North Wales to eventually set up his own business as a plumbing and electrical contractor. He was highly committed to the team, frequently attending call outs and greatly assisting in the maintenance and development of Bryn Poeth, where he was often to be seen as part of the Wednesday evening gang. On top of this he serviced numerous collecting boxes and tirelessly recovered a great deal of money for the team through the Gift Aid scheme.
Nobody who met Mick could fail to forget him. Beneath the mischievous exterior was a heart of gold. A flavour of his character can be gleaned from this tribute by long term team member and friend Raj.
My dear old friend Mick died at Inverness hospital. He had been suffering from lung cancer for a couple of years and had not responded to the treatment. He had known for some weeks what the outcome was to be – he didn’t say much about it, beyond ‘it’s a bugger Raj’.
He and Dawn had gone for their last holiday together to the Western Isles, where he took bad and was hospitalised in Raigmore Hospital to await the inevitable. I visited him early Tuesday to say good-by – he was then lucid enough to say ‘hia mate’ before the drugs took over. The following day Sunshine, John Murray and Pete Douglas did the same trip – the final favour.
Mick – stalwart of the team from the 70s – joker, piss-taker extraordinaire – and sometimes a royal pain in the ass – didn’t endear him to some – a bit like Marmite I guess – but it was jest – and one just couldn’t tell from an inscrutable face if he was joking or not. Team leaders were an obvious target for mischief as I have witnessed on many occasions – he didn’t need a ‘straight man’ – he was a self-contained comic and straight man in one.
He took part in many rescues over the years – happy in the contribution he was able to make and comfortable and open about the limit of his capabilities. He had a good head on him, capable of analysing situations and responding correctly – a safe pair of hands.
He was by far the best and most careful driver I’ve ever known. I travelled many a mile with him – North coast of Scotland – zig-zagging through the Pyrenees to southern Spain – some of the passes we drove in the Landrover were so good that we drove them twice – so we could both have a go. All those miles and never once did I suffer from “passenger brake syndrome”.
He was always willing to help anyone to do anything – at any time – with no thought for his own inconvenience, it was always drop tools and do – a bit like being a member of a rescue team.
Proud husband, father and grandfather – summited the Blonk once – loved and missed friend.
Dawn would like to thank every one for their support.