John Preston, Convenor of IHBC’s Green Panel and previously IHBC Education Secretary, and also Heritage Chair at the Sustainable Traditional Buildings Alliance (STBA), offers NewsBlog readers a tribute to a leading light in the STBA, Neil May.
image: STBA website
John Preston writes:
I am, as many others are, in a state of shock at the untimely death of Neil May MBE earlier this month. Faced with an inevitably fatal condition, he had survived one operation, but failed to make it through a second, very risky procedure.
Tributes published on the UCL, STBA, and Sustainable Development Foundation websites give some idea of the scope and extent of his interests and achievements, but cannot fully convey Neil’s charismatic energy.
Strange to think that Neil made little impact on me at our first meeting, back in 2002 when we both spoke at an Essex County Council event on ‘The Sustainable Historic Building’. His talk was on sustainable materials, but he had not yet hit his stride. When we met again, 10 years later, he was the Director and driving force of the newly-formed STBA, with one foot still firmly grounded in his building firm Natural Building Technologies, the other in academia with UCL, and his reach extended deep into government within DECC.
Neil was visionary, persuasive and thought-provoking. He had the practical and philosophical background to challenge so many ideas and much received wisdom, from housing at its broadest, to moisture in buildings, and to relationships between heritage and sustainability. His sheer energy made it hard for lesser mortals to keep up! He will be greatly missed.
For the STBA see stbauk.org