Meet The Team

Bring together expertise, ideas and enthusiasm in order to guide the BID forward

Our BID Board is made up of owners and managers of local businesses, landlords and representatives of the public and third sectors. They bring together their expertise, ideas and enthusiasm in order to guide the BID forward and to support the work of the BID Co-ordinator. Independent and national businesses are represented as are the daytime and evening economies as we try to develop and deliver the best possible programme for the whole of the town.

The board’s members are happy to meet you or visit you in your premises to discuss any aspect of the BID’s work and what it can do to support you.

Carl Mason
Carl Mason
Business Relationship Manager at Barclays Bank, Merthyr Tydfil. Married with a daughter and a grandson. Worked in finance since 1984. Big Heart Board member for over 4 years.

Age: 52. I have lived in Merthyr all my life and am a huge advocate of our beautiful town and the special people that live here

Huw Williams
Huw Williams
Huw has been a constant member of the Board for several years and is active within Merthyr Tydfil town life as a local historian. He is the author of most of the Big Heart of Merthyr’s numerous town trails which he leads with relish across the seasons. They number about a dozen now, the latest two just having been completed. He has plans to publish several local histories of Merthyr Tydfil in due course, something in print for all ages.
Karen Courts
Karen Courts
Karen became a Director of the Big Heart of Merthyr Tydfil in 2013 and has extensive experience in finance, governance, strategy, and housing and development matters. Karen is the Chief Executive of Merthyr Tydfil Housing Association which provides nearly 1,200 quality homes for affordable rent in the county borough. Karen is a qualified Certified Accountant and has held previous Finance Director roles in housing and the NHS, as well as working in private practice for several years.
Councillor Kevin O’Neill
Councillor Kevin O’Neill
Born in Merthyr Tydfil 1959, married with two children and one grandson. Left school in 1977 and immediately joined South Wales Police.

In 2009 was promoted to Chief Superintendent Divisional Commander of Northern Division which encompasses Merthyr and Rhondda Cynon Taff Local Authorities. I remained in this post until October 2014 when I retired after completing 37 years’ service.

I have always been a keen sportsman excelling in Soccer and Rugby at schoolboy level, I also boxed as a youth. I was the most successful Karate Competitor in Wales in my organisation winning European, British, and Welsh titles. I currently coach the National KUGB Shotokan Karate Squad and I am a 5th Dan Black Belt.

Was elected as Town Ward Councillor on 4th May 2017 as an Independent Councillor and elected as Leader in June 2017.

Lee Simmonds
Lee Simmonds
St Tydfil Shopping Centre Manager, previously Royal Mint Security Manager, previously Mermaid Quay Centre Manager and Security Manager. South African born therefore knows everything about rugby.
Jane Merralls
Jane Merralls
Jane Merralls, a relative newcomer to Merthyr BID, is a Manager with JDW, currently running Y Dic Penderyn.

Familiar with towns across the valleys, having run The Picture House, Ebbw Vale, and opened The Pontlottyn, Abertillery.

Having previously been a Trustee with Ffryndiau Tyleri, and a member of Ebbw Vale Business Forum, and Secretary and Treasurer in Pub watch in both towns, and currently Vice Secretary in Merthyr Pub Watch, Jane enjoys taking an interest in supporting the local community.

Elizabeth Bedford
Elizabeth Bedford
New BID Co-ordinator, Elizabeth, was born in Merthyr Tydfil and has lived all her life in the town. With her strong ties and passion for the town she became a director of the BID in 2016. Elizabeth joined The Big Heart of Merthyr Tydfil in January 2020 after 25 years’ experience in Business Development and Project Management.
Sarah Hicks
Sarah Hicks
Sarah was born in Merthyr Tydfil and has been a business owner for over 20 years. She previously taught cake decorating and sugar craft and now runs her own marketing agency in the town. Sarah is also an award-winning event planner. She has a passion for helping local businesses and enjoys history and travelling. Sarah began marketing for the BID in 2017.

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