The Brecon Beacons National Park, in the early 1990s, was the only National Park which did not have a ‘Friends’ organisation. Other Parks had such bodies, some of which had been in existence for many years before the National Parks themselves were created after the Second World War.
Brian Powdrill was the catalyst in forming the Society. As a Councillor, he had been appointed to the Park Authority, and, over a period of time, he had been approached to set up a ‘Friends’ organisation.’;
In the early part of 1992, he contacted a number of local people to consider forming such an organisation. An informal committee was set up, and they visited and talked to the Friends of Pembrokeshire National Park, the Countryside Council for Wales, the Council for National Parks, the Brecon Beacons National Park Authority, and many other bodies and people.
Many hours were spent in deciding the organisation’s name, aims and objects, logo, and numerous other matters, because it was felt necessary to present, at any launch, the bones of an organisation, which could be amended or changed as necessary when the organisation had been set up. John Evans, a local solicitor, wrote our first draft constitution. The Countryside Council for Wales agreed to fund half the setting up and launch costs as well as half of the running costs for the first two years.
The Society was finally launched at the Council Chamber in Brecon on Sunday 13th September 1992. It was a packed, standing-room only meeting, chaired by Anthony Carthew, a TV presenter who lives in the park. Chris Bonington CBE introduced the society to the general public and gave one of his mountaineering presentations. Brian Powdrill and Keith Mascetti followed him. The launch resulted in the Society achieving an initial membership of between 70 and 80. Keith and Dianne Millican were among those first members.
The acting officers following the launch meeting were Brian Powdrill (Chairman), John Revans (Vice Chairman), Sandra Belcham (Secretary), and Robert King (Treasurer/ Membership Secretary). They were joined by Ken Milnes, Carolyn Flynn, Elaine Christopher, Anne Watkins, Bob Allen and Richard Griffiths to form the steering committee. At the first AGM on 22nd April 1993, the steering committee was elected as the executive committee, with the addition of Keith Mascetti and Geoffrey Williams ( Richard Griffiths did not stand).
A programme was arranged, but, with such a small membership, attendances at events were often poor. Talks given by Chris Barber at the Bear were one of the few successes.