Bernard Heath, accountant who in his spare time set up a network of two for visitors to remote sites across the UK – obituary

For more than 50 years, Heath formed a close MBA management partnership with his wife Betty (née Taylor), whom he met at the MBA’s inaugural meeting and married in 1970. They were affectionately known in the world of both as “B&B”, and in 1991, shortly after the MBA’s 25th anniversary, their achievement was recognized with an unusual double award of British Empire Medals.

Bernard Joseph Heath was born on 22 September 1928 in Huddersfield, the youngest son of Joseph Heath, an inspector of engineers’ tools, and his wife Jessie (née Fuller). Leaving school at 16 and after national service in the Royal Navy, he qualified as a chartered accountant and taught at technical colleges in Huddersfield and later Thurso.

But his main love was cycling and he was involved in setting up cycling clubs, first the Huddersfield Star Wheelers and then in 1955 the Rough Stuff Fellowship. For 10 years, his annual vacation was spent with a friend cycling camping in remote corners of Britain’s highlands. He also made his first bicycle crossing of Iceland in 1958.

It was on a New Year’s cycling expedition through Galloway that he stumbled across the commentary in a guestbook of the two that inspired him to create the MBA.

After their marriage, the Heaths moved to Thurso, and in the late 1970s Bernard gave up his teaching job so that he and Betty could start a metal recycling and smallholding business, a business they have successfully run for over 20 years.

In Thurso, they were heavily involved in local conservation efforts, including planting a mixed forest which they later handed over to the Dunnet Forest Trust.

At the age of 74, Bernard Heath fulfilled a long-held ambition of cycling from Land’s End to John O’Groats, cycling the route for over 1,500 miles along back roads and off-road tracks .

Two years later, a stroke led to a gradual downturn, although he continued to work on both projects well into his 80s.

Betty Heath died last year.

Bernard Heath, born September 22, 1928, died March 31, 2022

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