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Tourism loses a major figure.

THE tourism and hospitality industry in Wales has lost one of its most influential ambassadors with the death of David Baird-Murray,OBE,at the age of 72,after an 18- month battle with cancer.

A service of thanksgiving is being held at 3pm today at Holy Trinity Church in Llandrindod Wells.

Mr Baird-Murray, who leaves a wife and four children, was probably best known as chairman and former Managing Director of The Hotel Metropole, Llandrindod Wells,one of the top conference centres in Wales, which has been owned by the Baird-Murray family for over a century.

He played a leading role in developing the tourist industry in Mid Wales and was awarded the OBE in 1996 for his services to tourism in Wales.

A former High Sheriff and Deputy Lieutenant for Powys, he was chairman of a host of organisations,including the Shrievalty Association (the High Sheriffs' Association for England and Wales), theWales Tourism Alliance and the Sunday Opening Council campaign to open all pubs in Wales on a Sunday.

Born in London in 1931,he was educated in the United States and at Harrow and spent two years on national service with the Royal Marine Commandos as 2ndLieutenant before going on to serve the Royal Marine Force Volunteer Reserve as a Lieutenant.

He began his career at Pont Royale Hotel,Paris and L'ermtage du Riou,Cannes, plus a shipping agency in Casablanca before joining the family business at The Metropole Hotel,becoming the youngest licensee in Wales at the age 23.

His contribution to tourism included founding the Mid Wales Tourism Council, which was taken over by the new Wales Tourist Board in 1969. He received a special Wales Tourist Board Award for his work in Tourism and he continued to serve on many WTB Committees.

As chairman of Interchange Hotels of Great Britain,he developed a partnership with Best Western Hotels and was the organisation's first chairman.

In 1977,he chaired the first Welsh Hoteliers Conference and was elected a Master Innholder by the Worshipful Company of Innholders, which he later chaired. He was also a Fellow of the HCIMA, the trades' professional body and a Fellow of the British Hoteliers Association.

He was founder chairman of the Wales Tourism Alliance,an influential body for lobbying opinion within the National Assembly.

He became a Llandrindod Wells councillor,aged 25 and chaired the Town Trust. He was also vice chairman of the British Red Cross Society's Board of Trustees.
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Publication:Daily Post (Liverpool, England)
Geographic Code:4EUUW
Date:May 14, 2003
Words:410
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