Dr Kathryn Benson-Evans MBE

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Dr. Kathryn Benson Evans 1924 – 2005 was a legend. She was brought up in South Wales and with her family finally settled in Bridgend in 1935.
Many will remember her for her extensive scientific work or her interest in her local community or her enormous contribution to Girlguiding. However, we will all remember her for her enthusiasm, warmth, humanity and huge commitment to anything in which she was involved.
Kathryn’s academic career began in 1944 in the Department of Botany at the University College Cardiff. In 1948 she became an Assistant lecturer in Algology and Bryology and in 1966 a Senior Lecturer. By the 1960s Kathryn changed her research to the effects of pollution on rivers in South Wales. She was a highly respected scientist both locally and internationally for her pioneering work in these areas. Kathryn published extensively, undertook consultancy work to help industry and local government to address the problems of river pollution and supervised more than 20 PhD students. After her retirement in 1987 Kathryn continued to teach and examine higher degree theses and in 1996 was the senior author of a book on the algae of South Wales – a subject on which her knowledge was legendary worldwide.
Kathryn lived in Bridgend for most of her life and was very much involved in her local community. She was a member of a number of organisations ranging from The Bridgend and District Horticultural Society to the Bridgend Civic Society. Her concern for her community stretched further as she was also a member of the Council for the Protection of Rural Wales and The Wildlife Trust of South and West Wales. Kathryn was a committed Christian and regularly attended Sunday services at Hermon Methodist Chapel and meetings of The Bridgend Council of churches.
It was after becoming a Girl Guide in her youth that led to a passion for Girlguiding. Kathryn became a leader running a Guide Unit in Tiger Bay, Cardiff, a Cadet/Ranger leader in Bridgend, a trainer, a tutor to prospective trainers and a vice President for Guides Cymru. Guiding with Kathryn was fun, her enthusiasm and boundless energy was infectious to all who met her.
Kathryn was a member of the Executive Committee of Girlguiding (UK) and later became the Chair of The Europe Region World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts. For her commitment and dedication to Girlguiding Kathryn was presented with The Silver Fish (Girl Guiding UKs highest award).
Elected to The World Committee (WAGGGS) in 1984, Kathryn’s main responsibility as Chair of Constitutions was to re write the whole of the WAGGGS Constitution. In 1998 Kathryn was awarded an MBE for her services to Girlguiding. Kathryn’s legacy to local, national and international Guiding will be long lasting. She has inspired and encouraged girls and young women across the world to develop to their fullest potential as responsible citizens of the world. Her gravestone reads ‘She lived her life for others’ which is so true.
Kathryn was a legend.

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