Page last updated at 15:50 GMT, Sunday, 28 June 2009 16:50 UK

Tribute to environmental farmer

Michael Girffith, in 2000
Michael Griffith had been chairman of a number of organisations in Wales

A prominent public servant and environmental farming advocate has died after collapsing while with a group of walkers on a hillside in Snowdonia.

Michael Griffith CBE, 75, a farmer and landowner from Trefnant, Denbighshire, was a former chairman of the Countryside Council for Wales.

Lord Roberts of Conwy described Mr Griffith as "one of Wales' best ever servants" and a friend to farmers.

Mr Griffith had been near Beddgelert, Gwynedd, when he collapsed on Saturday.

A retired doctor with the party tried to revive him and efforts were continued during a flight to hospital at Bangor in a rescue helicopter from RAF Valley.

Mr Griffith had been prominent in fields of higher education and health, as well as agriculture concerns.

He served the National Trust in Wales, the Welsh School of Medicine and Conwy and Denbighshire NHS Trust.

He had also held positions with the British Library, Cardiff University, Land Authority for Wales and Campaign for the Protection of Rural Wales (CPRW).

"I and everyone in CPRW are stunned and feel a great sense of loss at the tragic news of the passing of Michael Griffith," said CPRW director Peter Ogden.

"Michael was in every sense a great ambassador for the landscapes and heritage of Wales... and we will remain ever thankful for the contribution he made to our work," he added.

It was Lord Roberts, as Welsh Office minister, who had appointed him to preside over the Countryside Council for Wales.

He had also chaired the former Clwyd Health Authority, along with being a former high sheriff and had been a deputy lieutenant since 1985.

"He was particularly proud of being a descendant of Llywelyn ap Gruffudd and the Welsh princes," said Lord Roberts.

"Michael was very much an environmental farmer and his friends will be as shocked by his death as I am."

He helped draw up and launch the Tir Gofal agri-environment scheme in 1999, which saw farmers being paid for environmental work on their land.

Eton-educated Mr Griffith also once rode as an amateur jockey at Aintree.

He leaves a wife and a surviving son.

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