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Pete Bursnall Obituary 09/01/2012

Pete Bursnall grew up in Wales surrounded by 'outdoor people' and with adventures easily to hand - Pete’s dad ran a local education authority outdoor centre - so it isn't surprising that Pete’s life continued to revolve around the outdoors.

As recently as last September, Pete was competing in the Anglesey Sandman Triathlon; fit, strong, and enjoying the day with team mates, friends and family, this fact makes his rapid decline and untimely death from cancer all the more difficult to take in.

A self-confessed opportunist and jack of all trades, Pete was committed to the outdoors and the wonders that come to those who get out there and get involved. He was fiercely determined to achieve a 'work-life balance' that allowed him to spend time in the outdoors, sharing it with his kids and enjoying his own interests such as paragliding and big days out on the mountain bike researching for his guidebook writing.

It was not all play and no work - Pete had fingers in lots of pies; management training was his bread and butter and he loved the contrast between picking the kids up from school and going for a swim in Llyn Padarn one day and being in the City of London or at GCHQ, using his skills as a facilitator, trainer and mentor, the next.

Not content to just enjoy the outdoors he wanted to share its riches with others. In 1996 he produced the first north Wales mountain bike guidebook and was currently in the process of producing a modern version. His commissions from Visit Wales to escort foreign journalists were some of his favourite jobs. Being paid to show off all he knew and share the best bits of his backyard was the stuff of dreams.

He keenly felt the injustice brought on by the access restrictions to his beloved mountains that foot & mouth disease imposed on Snowdonia back in 2001. In the wake of foot and mouth, Pete was a founder member of Snowdonia-Active, seeing this as an opportunity to help bring the outdoor sector to its rightful place as a positive force for good in the region. His passion and commitment to developing the organisation and his work on early projects, particularly the establishment of the Outdoor Partnership, leaves a strong legacy.

A gifted communicator and facilitator, it was a contradiction to his 'I’d rather be outdoors' mantra that Pete gave a huge amount of himself to groups and committees in the cause of influencing the sustainable development of the outdoor sector in Wales. Many hours were spent in stuffy office buildings and often frustrating meetings whilst making the case for the outdoor sector and what it can and does do for the economy, environment and people of Wales.

This commitment and the skilful way in which he carried people with him, was rewarded as he found himself playing a pivotal role on a number of high level Welsh Government committees with direct access to key decision makers in Wales.

Until recently Pete was a member of the Ministers Tourism Advisory Panel for the Welsh Government, reminding everyone about the importance of the outdoor sector to Wales. He was also Chair of the Sustainable Tourism Forum responsible for advising Visit Wales on sustainability and climate change mitigation issues, the Sustainable Travel & Tourism Sub Group and the Wales Activity Tourism Organisation (WATO). His enthusiasm, passion, skills and knowledge will be missed within those organisations, and the outdoor sector as a whole has lost one of our most effective advocates.

His passing is a tragedy for his parents, his wife Aila and two young children, Owen and Riannon, who were looking forward to so many more shared outdoor adventures.

Pete’s memorial service and committal will be held at 11.00 a.m. on Thursday 12th January at Bangor crematorium. A gathering after the service will be held at Plas Menai. No flowers by request but if desired, donations gratefully received towards the Llanberis Mountain Rescue Team and the Myfanwy Townsend Melanoma Research Fund.

Topic: Pete Bursnall 1966-2012.

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