Giles Barker Award

Giles Barker lost his life while caving in Spain in 1992. An accomplished
cave photographer, Giles was a member of the Red Rose CPC and Morgannwg CC.
These clubs have annually, since 1993, funded the Giles Barker Award in his
memory. This prestigious award – a hand-crafted statue of a cave
photographer made by Ceris Jones – is given to a person connected with any
aspect of cave photography in recognition of his or her excellence and
contributions to the field.

Giles Barker Award 2023

For 2023 the prestigious Giles Barker Award was presented to Bill Nix, a member of Red Rose CPC, one of the two clubs that fund and maintain the award (the other being Morgannwg CC). This in itself involved some subterfuge to avoid Bill learning of the decision until it was announced publicly. Bill’s cave photography has visibly improved over the years, from his Photo Salon entries at Hidden Earth (including at the 2023 meeting in Gordano, Portishead near Bristol) to entries in other competitions and an increasing presence in caving publications. He has been efficient in producing images of specific locations to order when required, showing imagination in composition as well as expertise in their production. Notably, this extended to the Hidden Earth publicity where one of his photos was chosen for the conference programme and mug. Congratulations, Bill, on receiving this 28th award in the series, which as usual is a fine trophy specially created by Ceris Jones.
The Giles Barker Award 2023 trophy, created by Ceris Jones. Photo: Chris Howes

The Giles Barker Award 2019

The award for 2019, the 27th in the series, was presented during the Hidden Earth conference in Wrexham and goes to Jeff Wade. Jeff has, over a decade or more, demonstrated a consistent body of work – he first won an award at Hidden Earth Photo Salon in 2009 with a distinction for a colour print, and has subsequently gained numerous distinction and merit awards in both print and digital categories. proving a broad spectrum of ability, culminating in taking the top Premier Trophy in 2018. He has shown his photographic proficiency in challenging conditions in a huge range of locations from the Peak District to deep Alpine caves, with expedition caving from Europe to China, Mulu to Georgia, not only with his own camera but also helping others. Congratulations go to Jeff for his work and this significant award.

 Citation: Chris Howes on behalf of Red Rose Cave and Pothole Club and Morgannwg C.C.

The Giles Barker Award 2018

It is a pleasure to announce that the 26th. recipient of the Giles Barker Award is Paul Taylor, a prolific film-maker based in the Forest of Dean. A caver of 51 years, Paul’s many films and short clips – over sixty years of these being caving related – many found on his YouTube channel, Redhouse Productions, with subjects ranging from dye-tracing to digging, and original exploration to tourist trips.

 These have helped to document and combat pollution in caves, record caving history and the memories of those involved. One such film project involved taking one of the first Otter Hole explorers, Dave ‘Sparky’ Parker back into the cave – the result was premiered

at the Palace Cinema in Cinderford in 2010 and raised over £1000 for cave rescue. Paul is also no stranger to the Hidden Earth Conference or helping cavers to learn more about film making. His latest long running project is taking place in Otter Hole where he has already logged 243 trips. Generously after the award was made Paul noted that he considered it was not only to recognise his own work, but that it should be seen as an award for the entire team that supports him. An attitude like that means that he will never run out of helpers.

The Giles Barker Award 2017

For 2017 the award went to a prolific and accomplished cave photographer who, over recent years, has produced an increasing standard of imagery and built up a superb body of work. He has gained the Premier Trophy at Hidden Earth twice, as well as winning numerous other categories, and there can be few cavers who have not seen at least one of his images in use, from Descent covers to illustrations in caving books and even to the beer mugs at this year’s Hidden Earth. Congratulations therefore go to Mark Burkey for gaining this recognition, which is so well deserved. This the 25th annual award was made in October at Hidden Earth,

The Giles Barker Award 2016

The award for 2016 was presented during the EuroSpeleo congress in August to acknowledge the fine video work produced by Andy and Antonia Freem. Their commitment has gone beyond merely filming in difficult situations and has extended to helping others learn the craft, sharing their knowledge and recording ‘live’ exploration such as at Ogof Marros in West Wales. Most recently, the pair organised the video salon at EuroSpeleo, to the benefit of the wider caving community. Congratulations go to Andy and Antonia for their very deserving award, the 24th in the series.

Citation: Chris Howes, on behalf of Morgannwg CC and Red Rose CPC

The Giles Barker Award 2015

For 2015 the award went to Paul Dold. Paul has shown the depth of his commitment to cave photography by the degree of planning and effort that has gone into the production of some of his fine photographs, sometimes returning to the same spot several times to improve on past efforts in order to achieve his vision. A past winner of several categories in the Hidden Earth Photo Salon, Paul has been exceedingly generous with his time spent encouraging other photographers, not least through helping to run the salon over the past five years and offering constructive critiques to entrants. Our congratulations go to Paul, who is an eminently suitable winner of this 23rd Giles Barker Award.

Citation: Chris Howes, on behalf of Red Rose CPC and Morgannwg CC

The Giles Barker Award 2014

The award for 2014 was given to Martyn Farr who, as well as being known as
an enthusiastic digger and cave diver, for decades has photographed his
discoveries, both above and below water. Indeed, he was an early
experimenter in sump photography and has since built up an impressive
portfolio of images from the UK and around the world. The excellent quality
he has attained, most recently with his dedication to detail in solo
photography beyond remote sumps and using a GoPro video camera in incredibly
demanding conditions (examples may be viewed at:,
makes Martyn an extremely suitable winner of this 22nd Giles Barker Award
and we congratulate him for maintaining his high standards.Citation: Chris Howes, on behalf of Red Rose CPC and Morgannwg CC

The Giles Barker Award 2013

For 2013, the 21st Giles Barker Award – a hand-crafted statue of a cave photographer made by Ceris Jones – was presented to Pete Glanvill at the Hidden Earth meeting in September. Pete has, for nearly three decades,produced fine documentary and artistic images of the underground depicting both caves in the UK and while on expedition overseas, creating presentations and supporting his own and others’ articles in print with photographs of the latest breakthroughs, most recently on Mendip in Reservoir Hole. More than that and very much in the spirit of the award, he has encouraged others in their photography and on many occasions worked in the background judging the Hidden Earth Photo Salon. For his long-term commitment to cave photography and indefatigable nature, Pete deserves our congratulations for his award.

The Giles Barker Award 2012

The 2012 award was announced at the Hidden Earth meeting in September and, after a gap of six years, the subject of underground films returns to the fore. Dave Webb has been involved with the medium for over twenty years, variously making films to a consistently high standard, helping to judge the Hidden Earth video salon (which he has also won), sharing his knowledge through teaching at workshops and always entertaining others with exceptional film shows. He is particularly recognised for his documentaries To Titan from the Top, concerning the discovery of Titan, and Fight for Life about the tragic loss of Neil Moss in Peak Cavern. Dave was also recently appointed as the guardian of the 1960s film The Underground Journey, conserving it for future generations.Dave’s prolific output at such a high quality makes him an entirely appropriate recipient of this twentieth Giles Barker Award, recognised with a hand-crafted statue of a cave photographer made by Ceris Jones.

The Giles Barker Award 2011

For 2011 the award, a hand-crafted statue of a cave photographer made by Ceris Jones, goes to Brendan Marris. Brendan has become known for a consistently high standard of underground photography and, since 2008, publishing regular updates on his website at As part of a personal online project, he is documenting the caves of South Wales, logging the results against digital maps. Both the quality of his work and his comprehensive approach make Brendan a worthy winner.

The Giles Barker Award 2010

In 2010 the award, a hand-crafted statue of a cave photographer made by Ceris Jones and funded by Giles’ old clubs, was announced at Hidden Earth in September and goes to Rob Eavis. In this it recognises both the ongoing quality and high standard of his photography and, in particular, the imagination he has shown when experimenting with different light sources to produce a series of very original images. Congratulations to Rob for a well deserved award.

The Giles Barker Award 2009

For 2009, the Giles Barker Award was presented to a photographer whose published work has surely been seen by all caversat some point, whether in a book or magazine or, commonly, as an original b&w print handed around at a club meeting. His work over many decades has demonstrated his abilities and he is widely respected in the caving community, often being invited to photograph new discoveries, always to a high standard. Clive Westlake is therefore an eminently suitable recipient of the 2209 award, a hand crafted statue of a cave photographer made by Caris Jones and funded by Giles’s old clubs, presented at Hidden Earth 2009

The Giles Barker Award 2008

In 2008 the award goes to Paul “Footleg”Fretwell for the encouragement he has given to cave photographers over many years, through lectures and workshops on techniques to helping to run the Hidden Earth photo salon. In this he won the British Newcomer Award in 1999 and since then has produced an increasingly high quality of underground photographs and has begun working with inspirational audio-visual presentations. The award, a hand-crafted statue of a cave photographer, made by Ceris Jones and funded by Giles’ old clubs, was presented at Hidden Earth 2008

The Giles Barker Award 2007

The 2007 Giles Barker Award was won by Ron Bliss for his lifetime spent producing fine pictures underground, taking him through changes in technology and culminating in his preparing a slideshow showing the beauty of the Yorkshire Dales caves that he loved, and pressing home a strong conservation message – there can be no stronger use of photography than this. This is the first time the award has been made posthumously as Ron unfortunately died shortly before the first public showing of his final work. The award (a hand-crafted statue of a cave photographer, made by Ceris Jones) was accepted on his behalf by a representative of Ron’s club, the Red Rose.

The Giles Barker Award 2006

Maurice Hewins has, for many years, worked to preserve and document our heritage of caving films, both old and modern. In this, Maurice has collected data on the photographers and their productions, recording the techniques they used and the people who appeared in often obscure films. Most importantly, he has gathered copies, which he has lodged with Wells Museum. His work, from which future generations will benefit greatly (let alone the enjoyment the current caving community has gained), makes Maurice a very fitting recipient of the 2006 Award. He was presented with a fiurine of a cave photographer hand crafted by Ceris Jones at Hidden Earth 2006 in September.

The Giles Barker Award 2005

This year the award goes to an outstanding cave photographer who has embraced the latest in technological advances and shoots solely using a digital SLR camera. Always willing to learn, his dedication to producing the results he desires is extraordinary and over the past twelve months the outcome has wowed his viewers. His pictures have been printed in recent editions of Descent magazine and have drawn many admiring comments, as well as winning the delegate ballot at Hidden Earth 2005. Choosing the recipient for the 2005 award was a very easy task, so much did Robbie Shone’s work stand out with his subtle use of lighting. Congratulations to Robbie, who was presented with a figurine of a cave photographer, hand-crafted by Ceris Jones.

The Giles Barker Award 2004

With the 2004 presentation being made to Peter Harvey from South Wales, the award has widened its scope as Peter’s photographs date back to the 1950s and ’60s. Even considering the advances in cave photography since that time, his results stand up against more recent work. Peter’s negatives have been scanned to a high standard and he has produced modern prints using up-to-date computer technology, some of which were on display at Hidden Earth 2004. This is a deserving award, given Peter’s dedication at the time to taking the original image, and now to maximise its potential using today’s printing methods. Congratulations to Peter, who was presented with a figurine of a cave photographer, hand-crafted by Ceris Jones, at Hidden Earth in October.

The Giles Barker Award 2003

Giles was often involved with teaching the sport to young people. It is particularly fitting, therefore, that the 2003 award goes to a film-maker who has produced three instructional caving videos (the Cave Safe series), as well as entertaining cavers worldwide with his productions of Solo which has won several international awards, and the recent dramatised account of the discovery of the caves in Fairy Cave Quarry, A Rock and a Hard Place Congratulations to Andy Sparrow for his well-deserved award.Andy was presented with a figurine of a cave photographer, hand-crafted by Ceris Jones, at Hidden Earth in October.2003

The Giles Barker Award 2002

Audio-visual sequences have become a staple part of the Hidden Earth conference. Glenn Jones began constructing sequences in 1991 and by 1996 was showing his work to cavers, progressing through different versions of his Vercors AV at successive Hidden Earth conferences and creating three of its new-format opening sequences). During this period Glenn also produced DSS The Movie and moved from two projectors to four, then to six, and by popular request has shown his AVs at many other caving events around the country. He was the winner of the newly instigated AV competition at Hidden Earth in 2001 with Caving. Congratulations go to Glenn as the recipient of the tenth Giles Barker Award in recognition of his enthusiasm and dedication both in his photography and producing AVs.