A POIGNANT memorial was held at the summit of Pen-y-Fan to mark the 40th anniversary of the death of one of the founders of a mountain rescue team covering Powys, who died while saving a life four decades ago.

Mike Rudall, known as ‘Nog’, died on May 1, 1983, after the Western Beacons Mountain Rescue Team (then known as Bridgend Mountain Rescue Team) founder had come to the aid of a stricken walker who had fallen and broken his leg after the group had lost their way in “atrocious” weather conditions.

As Mr Rudall was tending to the walker, a fall of rock crashed down the face and he bravely used his body to shield the walker, taking the force of the fall and dying as a result.

Forty years to the day since the tragic incident, last Monday, more than 40 members of the team, joined by some of Mr Rudall’s family, and one of the rescued scouts from 40 years ago, ascended Pen-y-Fan’s 886 metres to pay tribute to a “father, brother, son, friend, leader and hero”.

A post on the Western Beacons MRT Facebook page said: “In May 1983, the then Bridgend team (now Western Beacons) lost their team leader to a tragic accident.

“In weather conditions described as ‘atrocious, with strong winds and snow falling’, a group of Venture Scouts had lost their way descending Pen-y-Fan, the highest mountain in South Wales, and wandered onto the dangerously steep north-east face.

“One of them became separated from the rest and fell, breaking his leg. Mike Rudall had ventured out to treat the scout, when a fall of rock crashed down the face. Instinctively shielding the injured scout with his own body, Mike took the force of the fall and lost his life.”


A memorial stone to Mike is located at the Bannau Brycheiniog National Park visitor centre in Libanus, just outside Brecon. Following a short service on the summit, people made their way to the visitor centre to lay a wreath.

A heartwarming tribute to Mr Rudall was written by his daughter and read out by his brother. It read: “Everyone here today and others who cannot be will know what the team meant to dad.

“I know he would be ever so proud of the brave and selfless work the team has done for many years in helping people in their hours of need.

“On behalf of all of my family in Australia I can only say we wish very much we could be there today to join our wonderful Welsh family, the team, friends and all to honour the life and sacrifice of dad as a father, brother, son, friend, leader and hero.”

County Times:  A memorial Stone to Mike Rudall stands at the Bannau Brycheiniog National Park visitor centre in Libanus A memorial Stone to Mike Rudall stands at the Bannau Brycheiniog National Park visitor centre in Libanus (Image: Western Beacons Mountain Rescue Team)

A spokesperson for the group said: “Mike’s sister also attended in the afternoon to be there to see a wreath laid and meet members of the team and previous team members, along with people who attended the callout with Mike that day.

“Western Beacons Mountain Rescue Team believes it is important to remember our team history and we ensure that every new team member that joins us for their induction and initial training knows about Mike and this tragic event.

“We are still in contact with Mike’s family 40 years after that day in 1983, and we would like to thank them for being so supportive to us as a team and that we continue to remember him.”

The team was initially formed in 1964 as the Bridgend Scout Mountain Rescue team by Mr Rudall, after completing a Rover Scout project in Bridgend. The project highlighted a need for a civilian mountain rescue team in the western part of Bannau Brycheiniog, formally known as the Brecon Beacons.

The team changed its name to the Bridgend Mountain Rescue Team in 1967 before switching to the Western Beacons Mountain Search and Rescue Team in 1997.

To find out more about the team, visit http://www.westernbeacons.org.uk/.