CUW Awards: Lifetime Achievement

Credit Unions of Wales Awards – Lifetime Achievement Award

The Credit Unions of Wales Lifetime Achievement Award 2018 recognises those individuals who have made a significant contribution to the credit union movement over a long period of time.

The nominations for this award are:

Paula & Brian Pippin

In 1994 Brian (as Rector of Pontypool) and Paula initiated the idea of a Credit Union in Trevethin to provide an alternative to high cost lenders and help people to save money.

They enthused others and formed the study group that led to registration in 1996, opening in 1997 and became members.

Brian is still Chairman of Gateway Credit Union and Paula has returned in retirement from teaching to the Board and Credit Committee, with a regular day in the office. They have seen the Credit Union through from opening the first collection point to acquiring premises, first into Cwmbran, then across Monmouthshire and now an even wider common bond.

It is their ethos of a fair, friendly and community-run savings and loans co-operative, putting the member first, that informs everything Gateway does.  


Alun Taylor

A voluntary director with Smart Money Cymru for over 25 years, Alun has never been time restricted to the credit unions and is the perfect ambassador for the movement. 

As a volunteer Alun supports and encourages the development and growth of the products and services offered to the public.

He makes himself assessable to support managers and individuals in any queries or assistance required.

Alun is passionate about the credit union movement and voluntarily gives his time willingly with no time barriers, giving expertise and shared knowledge to support not only Smart Money Cymru but other organisations and community projects. 

Alun has been instrumental in SMC opening a branch office in Tredegar with a focus on reaching Cefn Golau estate one of the most deprived communities in Blaenau Gwent.


Ian Gylee

Ian, of Brynna, has been involved in the credit union movement since 1996 when he was part of the small steering group that later became Border Vale Credit Union.  Following the merger of the five credit unions in the county borough in 2003 Ian has continued to serve on the Board of Directors and accepted his position of President with calm authority.

Ian, who is the president of Dragonsavers Credit Union, continues to volunteer in his local office each week and effortlessly “changes hats” when working as the counter teller. 

He has an excellent rapport with members, staff and fellow directors and his unassuming manner coupled with his ability to discern when to lead and when to let others take on the responsibly to manage development has seen Dragonsavers thrive. 


Marion Lewis

Merthyr Tydfil Borough Credit Union is honouring the memory of one of their shining lights by nominating her for a Credit Unions of Wales Award posthumously.

Marion Lewis of Aberfan joined the credit union in 1998 as part of a steering group who identified the need to tackle issues such as social and financial exclusion, unlicensed lenders (loan sharks) and regeneration.

When the credit union opened a service point in Pontmorlais in October 1999 Marion was one of two volunteer collectors who operated it.

Marion would always tell people about the ethos and services of the credit union, she has even gone out of her way to personally bring members into the credit union.

Not only was Marion a volunteer collector at two service points, she also played a vital role in establishing a junior savings club in her local community school in Aberfan, and if that wasn’t enough Marion was also a Director of the credit union.

Sadly, in June 2018  Marion passed away unexpectedly and she will be greatly missed by all at the credit union.


Diane Richards

Cardiff & Vale Credit Union’s founder member and board director Diane Richards has been actively involved in the credit union movement for 24 years.

Diane has been Chair of the Credit Committee for the last 17 years and this has involved assessing large value loans and considering appealed loans, and over the years has been involved in an estimated 600 loan decisions. 

She was also originally involved in helping with credit control and supporting members in arrears in the early days of the credit union, and also staffing a local collection point – all on a voluntary basis.

Diane has undertaken this work around fulltime employment, before retiring three years ago.  Her previous finance-related employment with a payroll partner gave her the knowledge and experience to contribute her expertise in loan assessments. In addition to her Board and Credit Committee work, she is also involved in a number of sub groups

Diane has always been supportive and helpful to management and the loans team in reaching fair, prompt and consistent loans decisions to support the core credit union business.

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