The Late Munro Taylor
Munro first moved to the area in 1963 when he and his wife Thelma took over the running of Borth Youth Hostel. They ran the Hostel for nearly 30 years and were instrumental in developing the field studies centre attached to the Hostel which attracted visits from schools and other groups from all over Britain. His direct involvement with the Bay started here as Munro became a crew member for Borth Inshore Lifeboat, for which he was later to receive an award for long service. He also developed his interest in sailing during these years, keeping a small yacht on the Dyfi, which he used for regular expeditions around the Bay.
It was later in his life, towards the end of his time in the Hostel, that Munro’s interest in environmental issues moved into direct involvement. In May 1989 Greenpeace conducted a tour of the UK coastline to highlight the decline in many of our marine species. A visit to Aberystwyth by the Greenpeace boat ‘Moby Dick’ led to a packed public meeting at which Munro was present. The meeting decided something had to be done and at a follow-up meeting a group of us decided to set up Friends of Cardigan Bay. Munro’s presence was such that he was immediately persuaded to become the first Chairman.
As with all he did, Munro threw his full weight and enthusiasm into the post. A tall and imposing man he became a well known figure at meetings on all subjects concerning the Bay as well as being in demand for television and radio news interviews. He grasped new subjects passionately (although maybe not always accurately!) and developed relationships between the Friends and a variety of statutory and voluntary bodies.
Although not one to shy away from direct action if necessary, Munro, as a former union negotiator with the YHA, believed in negotiation and discussion if possible. He was instrumental in setting up the Cardigan Bay Forum, whose meetings brought together industrialists, conservationists, recreationalists and many other ists, to discuss and debate issues from fishing to oil developments. The model of the Cardigan Bay Forum was copied in other areas around the UK as the importance of marine conservation was increasingly being recognised.
Munro’s enthusiasm and skills as a sailor also helped developed Friends of Cardigan Bays research activities. By now the owner of the elegant Ketch ‘Pendragon’ Munro made her available to FoCB and other groups as a research vessel. The stories generated by these trips, with Munro as skipper, would fill a couple of volumes of Natur Cymru on their own, but Munro’s drive and generosity helped with increasing our understanding of the cetaceans in the Bay and the importance of the area for conservation.
In recent years, despite repeated threats to take things easy, Munro was busier than ever. He helped build up FoCB from a low point by recruiting and helping to train many new volunteers, he took over as Treasurer and spent more time at sea on increasingly long surveys over a wide area of the Bay.
Munro was many things – sailor, art teacher, amateur historian, fencing instructor, conservationist and more. His energy and eagerness could over dominate and his uncompromising stand over issues could be seen as stubbornness by some, but all these qualities were necessary to getting things done - something which Munro did in all aspects of his life.
Most of all though Munro was a friend - to all those who knew him and to Cardigan Bay and its wildlife - we’ll not be seeing the likes of him again.
Article courtesy of Mick Green.