This award is given to any member of the society who has made a noticeable contribution to the society and its members in a role or range of roles over an extended period of time such as:

Senior Branch Officers who have given meritorious service over a 20 year period.
Zonal Representatives who have given sterling service over a 10 year period.
Holders of Ancillary Official posts in the Society who have served over an appreciable number of years.
Members of various Society Committees who, although possibly not being in the forefront of activities, have nevertheless served conscientiously over an extended period of time.
People who give service to a broad cross-section of the membership (e.g. speakers, contributors to the journal, show judges) who again have served in this manner over a period of years.
Or a person who makes a substantial and noteworthy contribution in a lesser period of time.

Generally nominations for this award are made by branches. The nomination should be proposed and seconded and be accompanied by a thorough C.V. These should be sent to the Secretary of the BCSS and will be assessed by the Board of Trustees. If the Board of Trustees approve the award, it’s usual to present it at a General Meeting wherever possible.

The award consists of a bar with gold BC&SS lettering on an emerald green enamelled background. A certificate is presented with it.

The following current BCSS members are holders of the Robert Holt Meritorious Award:


1991 Mr P Goodson 2003 Mr R. Bates
1991 Mrs Y. Tree 2003 Mr A. Morris
1991 Mr A.E. Parker 2004 Mrs P. Thurston
1991 Mr R.R. Hewitt 2004 Mr W. Chase
1991 Dr A.W. Mace 2005 Mr G. Charles
1991 Mr D.V. Slade 2005 Mrs D. Minors
1992 Mr E.A. Harris 2006 Mr I. Biddlecombe
1993 Mr A.H. Buchan 2006 Mrs D. Pritchard
1994 Miss M. Keel 2006 Mr J. Frew
1995 Mr J.A. Arrowsmith 2006 Dr G.R. Allcock
1995 Mrs S. Mace 2007 Mr P.G. Barker
1996 Mr A. Hill 2007 Mr D. Bowdery
1997 Mr R.W. Sims 2007 Mr P. Burton
1998 Mr H. McKelvie 2007 Mr J. Cox
1998 Dr P.E. Downs 2007 Mr D.E. Quail
1999 Mrs P. Mills 2007 Mr D.A. Rowland
1999 Mr. D. Rushforth 2008 Mr R.A. Mackie
1999 Mr. S.G. Slack 2008 Mr. R. Mottram
2000 Mr R.S. Wood 2008 Mr C.E. Parker
2000 Mr L.J. Evans 2008 Mrs F.M. Patrick
2000 Mrs J.M. Ellis 2009 Mr R.K. Hughes
2000 Mrs H.M. Sellars 2009 Mr K. Scales
2001 Mr R. Stephenson 2011 Mrs A Vandon Bon
2002 Mr D.I. Neville 2011 Mrs C Darbon
2002 Mr S.J. Griffin 2014 Mr D Minnion
2002 Mr J.O. Skinner 2014 Mr D Tribble
2002 Mr D. Briggs 2016 Mr A Laius
2002 Mr. Peter Down 2002 Dr C.C. Walker
2019 Mr B Hildyard 2019 Tony Roberts

2020 Mrs Jean Hunt



Robert Holt 

Robert Holt died on the 24th June 1991 aged 50, of a heart attack whilst on holiday in France with his wife Maureen.

He became a member of the NCSS in the late 1960s through the influence of Clive Innes and rapidly became a prominent member of Brighton and Hove Branch serving for periods as both secretary and chairman. He first came to notice of the wider membership as joint editor (with Maureen) of the Sussex Zone Yearbooks. His skills as an editor and writer did not go unnoticed as he was later appointed joint editor of Ashingtonia with John Donald. He was also the editor of a book on the ornamental and architectural features of historic British gardens entitled "Elegance & Eccentricity", and the author of a series of (regrettably unpublished) novels.

Robert and Maureen were active in other wildlife conservation groups, for example the RSPB for which they were local branch meetings organisers. Like many avid collectors, Robert's interests were multifarious; from rushing all over Europe collecting airplane numbers to large collections of stamps, books and classical music.

He was particularly fond of Mammillarias and the other Coryphanthanae and took an active role in the Mammillaria Society, being on its committee and serving for a time as its secretary. I understand Robert undertook the latter job after enjoyment of a particularly good bottle of wine with Bill Maddams. Involvement with the BCSS at a national level first came in 1986 when Robert was elected to the Finance and General Purposes Committee and in 1988 Robert was elected as Chairman of the BCSS a post he held until the time of his death. As chairman, Robert had set himself a number objectives to acheive during his period in office which he hoped would rekindle a spirit of enthusiasm and growth of the society. Some have been achieved; some are still in progress and it is to be hoped that others will take up the torch, so that his efforts will not have been wasted.

It is as a speaker that Robert will perhaps be best remembered. He was always in great demand for his amusing yet informative lectures, and up until the time of his election as Chairman of the society limited himself to twenty talks a year. On becoming chairman he decided it was important for him to meet as many members as possible and was currently giving some forty a year. He had limited himself to a five year term as chairman and it was his aim to have visited all the BCSS branches in this period and he had already achieved a good part of this.

Robert was a great personal friend of ours and left a huge gap in our lives, in that of his friends in Brighton & Hove Branch and of the BCSS which was hard to fill.

Tony Mace