It is with great sadness and regret, that we write to inform you that our friend, Trustee, and former Chair of the CO Research Trust, Chris Bielby MBE, passed away on Friday 22 July 2022.

He had been diagnosed with Motor Neurone Disease in November 2020, and had faced this terrible condition with great stoicism, bravery, and dignity.

Chris spent his whole career in the gas industry, advancing steadily through the ranks, at regional level and then at British Gas’ head office, with safety being the common thread.

Following privatisation, and in 1997, the splitting up of British Gas PLC, he joined Centrica. With increasingly senior roles, came greater responsibility, not only for improvements in service quality and technical standards, but also nationally representing the industry in the drive to improve its safety record.

To this end, there developed a concern that a coordinating body was needed to ensure that in the newly liberalised and fast-moving privatised industry, no gaps in the safety regime appeared. This led to the creation of the Gas Industry Safety Group, which Chris chaired from 2000, until his sad passing.

In addition to this, he was a Trustee of the CO Research Trust (formerly the Gas Safety Trust) and was our Chair for more than ten years, remaining an active contributor despite his illness, generously sharing his insights and knowledge. Alongside these roles, he was active in the All-Party Parliamentary CO Group, a past President and Fellow of the Institute of Gas Engineers and Managers, as well as a Trustee of the National Gas Museum.

His commitment to improving the industry he devoted his professional life to was second to none, making it safer for employees and customers alike, supporting initiatives to minimise its environmental impact, as well as those which ensure security of supply. He was rightly recognised for this work by being awarded an MBE in 2012 and he made a lasting impression on everyone who met him.

Chris leaves an irreplaceable gap in our organisation, and we will miss his expertise, guidance, and especially his sense of fun. He was a true legend of the gas industry, and he won’t be forgotten by friends and colleagues.

We send our deepest condolences to his wife Pat, and his daughter Kate.


Baroness Finlay of Llandaff

Chair, CO Research Trust

Co-Chair, All-Party Parliamentary CO Group

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