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Tributes to tourism ambassador Pam who promoted Wales worldwide

Pam Powell, MBE, receiving the Lifetime Achievement Award at the inaugural Mid Wales Tourism Awards .

Tributes have been paid to a passionate ambassador for the Welsh and British tourism industry who died on Wednesday at the age of 96.

Pam Powell, MBE, from Rhayader, travelled the world with Wales Tourist Board (WTB) and British Tourist Authority (BTA) to provide Welsh teas at tourism trade and public exhibitions.

She would often drive to events across Europe towing a specially adapted Ivor Williams trailer packed with Welsh tea, scones, Welsh cakes and bara brith. Sometimes she would be accompanied by her team of ‘Welsh farmhouse ladies’.

When WTB/BTA raised the issue of customs duties, Pam’s reply was: ‘Who’s going to stop a little, old lady with white hair?”

At the inaugural Mid Wales Tourism Awards in 2019, she received a Lifetime Achievement Award for more than 40 years’ service to the tourism industry in the region.

After receiving the award from David Peate, who was Powys High Sheriff at the time, she said: “The award is an absolute surprise. I still like to do things for Wales, but my tourism work was so long ago now. I was just being Welsh and promoting the country.”

Jonathan Jones, CBE, a good friend of Pam, said she reminded him constantly, when he was WTB chief executive that he should have done so much more for Mid Wales.

He explained that Pam did not begin providing Welsh teas at British and international tourism exhibitions until she was in her 60s, after raising three sons and running a farm and pony trekking centre in Rhayader.

“The tributes to Pam on social media are huge from people all around the world who still remember her,” said Mr Jones. “She was a legend in her own teatime.

“She really was a woman with strong views who did not suffer fools gladly and her main love was Mid Wales. She consistently thought we could all do far more than we were doing to support Mid Wales.

“Pam was  also a great ambassador for Wales, Britain and tourism in general, and she will be sorely missed.”

Val Hawkins, MWT Cymru’s chief executive, said: “Pam made such a big contribution to the tourism industry which was recognised with the Lifetime Achievement Award.

“She was a lovely person with a sharp mind who always had Mid Wales very much in her heart. She will be missed greatly.”

Born near Rhayader in 1924, Pam moved with her parents to Cardiff where she was educated at Cardiff High School and Cardiff University. After a period teaching domestic science, she married and moved to Cowbridge where she brought up her three sons.

Her role as president of The Welsh Ski Council ensured that all her sons were excellent skiers, with one representing GB and another becoming a ski instructor.

Widowed in her early 50s, Pam bought Blaen Cwm Farm near Rhayader where she established the pony trekking business and was a founder member of the Pony Trekking Society of Wales.

Because of her public relations and cooking ability, she was recruited by both the WTB and the British BTA. When the travelling became too onerous, she opened a B&B in her mother’s former home and supported her son, Clive’s mountain biking business in Rhayader, attracting mountain bike groups from across the UK and Europe.

Throughout this time, Pam was a member and strong supporter of MWT Cymru and was instrumental in establishing Rhayader 2000, which brought local tourism related businesses together.