Bernard Baldwin was steeped in the athletic scene from childhood.
Bernard Baldwin MBE passed away peacefully this morning, aged 92
Born in Barry, 1925 Bernard Baldwin was steeped in the athletic scene from childhood.
Bernard_Baldwin Nos Galan Road Races has been granted the Freedom of the County Borough
The founder of the world famous and award-winning Nos Galan Road Races has been granted the Freedom of the County Borough – the highest honour the Council can bestow upon one if its citizens.
Bernard Baldwin MBE, now aged 89, was the special guest at an Extraordinary Meeting of Rhondda Cynon Taf Council, held at the Cynon Valley Indoor Bowls Centre in Mountain Ash.
A packed auditorium of Council officers and members, invited guests and members of the public witnessed the civic ceremony, led by Mayor, Cllr John Watts.
Bernard, of Caegarw, Mountain Ash, was recognised for his major contribution to the world of athletics and for his amazing foresight in 1958 to give us the lasting legacy of the Nos Galan Road Races.
Rhondda Cynon Taf Mayor, Cllr John Watts, said: “Bernard has been an outstanding ambassador for Rhondda Cynon Taf and is recognised far and wide for his work with Welsh athletics as well as being the visionary behind the Nos Galan Road Races. He is truly deserving of this prestigious honour."
Among the distinguished guests at the ceremony was Elizabeth Singer, the High Sheriff of Glamorgan, accompanied by Roy Noble OBE, the Vice Lord Lieutenant of Glamorgan.
Well known as a television and radio presenter, Mr Noble paid tribute to Bernard’s sterling work over many decades. As well as being founder of the Nos Galan Road Races, Bernard was also the founder of the Taff Street Dash in Pontypridd.
He also held the post of Secretary at Mountain Ash Athletic Club, Glamorgan Secondary Schools Cross Country Association, Welsh Amateur Athletics Association, British Olympic Association (Wales) and Road Runners Club (Wales).
Bernard was also team manager of the British Amateur Athletics Board and President of the Welsh Cross Country Association in 1964 and 1965 and President of the Road Runners Club in 1970.
Joining Bernard and his family on the special day was David Bedford OBE, a former Nos Galan Mystery Runner, 10,000 metre world record holder and 3,000 metre and 5,000 metre British steeplechase record holder.
The former race director of the London Marathon said he was delighted to be back in Mountain Ash, a town that holds so many special memories for him.
He said: “I would not have missed this special occasion for anything. I have the utmost respect for Bernard and all that he has achieved. My association with the Nos Galan Road Races goes back many, many years. I first ran at the event as a teenager.
“Bernard was a huge inspiration for me when it came to my own personal athletics achievements and also my creation of the London Marathon.”
Bernie Plain MBE, a former Nos Galan Mystery Runner and one of Wales’ greatest ever long distance runners, also praised the achievements of Bernard Baldwin MBE.
“Not only did Bernard organise the two big events that he was famous for – the Nos Galan Road Races and Taff Street Dash – he also organised many more athletics events around Wales, attracting the finest athletes of their day from around the world,” he said.
The day also included a performance by Mountain Ash RFC Singers. Cllr Pauline Jarman gave the formal thanks on behalf of the Baldwin Family, also recollecting some of her own personal memories of the Nos Galan Road Races.
Bernard William Leighton-Baldwin was born, one of seven children, in Barry, South Wales in September 1925. Accompanying him at the Freedom of the County Borough event was his wife Pat Richards, daughter Alison, and family members.
Online registration for Nos Galan 2014 is now open and it looks like it is going to be another record event. Find out more on the Nos Galan webpages.
If you are inspired by the legendary tales of Bernard Baldwin MBE and his sensational sporting friends, why not get involved in running? Our Leisure Centres have a great range of facilities for you to hone your cardiovascular and strength skills in, while Sport RCT can signpost you to your nearest running group so you, too, can get involved in the sport.
Above photograph from Athletics Weekly