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Tributes to Keith Drury as he prepares to step down as BASW Cymru Chair

Current BASW Cymru Chair Keith Drury will be stepping down at the Association’s Annual Meeting next month after four years in the post.

His decision to move aside and make room for a new leadership led to a host of tributes from BASW colleagues.

Ian Woolrich, former Chair and now a BASW Cymru Ambassador, said: “I would like to thank Keith for his hard work, energy and commitment in raising the profile of BASW Cymru and of professional social work across Wales. On a personal note I would also like to thank him for all his support when I was chair of BASW Cymru. 

“As Chair of the BASW Committee, Keith was instrumental in developing the Social Work Awards in Wales, following his work with gay, lesbian and transgender groups in North Wales being recognised by the UK Social Work awards. He also recommended the introduction of the Patrons & Ambassador scheme in Wales. 

“Keith gave BASW Cymru leadership and direction and was a true ambassador for the social work profession himself. I am sure that all on the Welsh Committee wish him well for the future.”

Nick Lovell, another former Chair and also a BASW Cymru Ambassador as well as UK BASW Council member, said: “I was chair of the BASW Cymru Committee when Keith joined and was immediately struck by his passion and commitment to social work.

“He had a determination to ensure that social workers are supported and recognised for the wonderful work that we do, which was the driving force for him to launch the enormously successful and widely respected Annual Social Work Awards for Wales in his role as Chair.

“Throughout his four year term as Chair, I often thought of the extent of Keith’s efforts in persistently busying himself in the task of making sure that the world of social work and social workers did not go unnoticed.

“There has been much work that Keith has undertaken for BASW that is not immediately apparent to members who have not been involved with the BASW Cymru Committee or BASW Council. This has involved developing sound constitutional procedures and processes concerning the Committee and ensuring the accountability of those who represent BASW members. 

“Keith, you will be a very hard act to follow. Thank you for your determination and belief in what our profession does. I’m sure that like a stick of rock you have social work written all the way through you. You have been an inspiration for social work across the UK and I know that you have also carried that to other parts of the world. Although I suspect that even the world is too small for you!”

Carol Davies, now BASW Cymru Development Worker but previously Deputy Chair to Keith, said: “I first met Keith at a BASW Cymru Committee meeting held in Rhayader, where he deputised for the Chair. My first impression of Keith was that he appeared very passionate about social work and enthusiastic about the rights of minority groups, which he continued to champion throughout his time in office.

“I became deputy to Keith when he became Chair. Throughout his role he generated innovative ideas which the committee helped to develop. These included the Patrons and Ambassadors scheme and the Social Work Awards, which have grown in success over time. Keith was also instrumental in promoting BASW Cymru within North Wales, and several countries overseas.

“I would like to take this opportunity to wish Keith all the best for the future and for him to gain recognition for his input into BASW Cymru over the last six years.”

Commenting as he prepares to step down after the joint longest period as Chair in Wales of anyone to have held the post, Keith himself said: “BASW Cymru and BASW UK have provided me with many learning opportunities but also a chance to utilise my skills in the role of Chair, resulting in initiatives which have contributed to an increase in membership and the raising of BASW Cymru's profile and standing as the only professional association for social workers in Wales.

“I have learned so much along the way and wish to extend my thanks to all who have contributed to my learning experiences and for supporting me. I wish all at BASW the very best for the future.”