Soufriere Volcano from the MVO. (Nerissa Golden Photo)

Volcano Scientific Advisor Makes New Year Honours 2017

Prof. Willy Aspanal
Prof. Willy Aspanal

Her Excellency the Governor, Elizabeth Carriere, is delighted to announce that Professor William Aspinall has been made a Companion of the Most Distinguished Order of St Michael and St George (CMG) in the New Year Honours List for 2017.

Professor Aspinall has given outstanding service to the community of Montserrat for over 20 years since the start of the volcanic eruption in 1995. He was the first British scientist to be sent by the UK Government to the Territory and he is credited by the Government of Montserrat and the community as the scientist who was best able to communicate the dangers posed by the volcano in language which ordinary citizens could understand.

He became the unofficial scientific adviser to the Governor and he became pivotal in the decision making process for the evacuation of members of the community from areas threatened by pyroclastic flows and other life threatening volcanic events. His dedication to the task of accurately delineating the danger zones and ensuring by radio broadcasts, town hall meetings and educational visits to most schools and villages that the community were always fully informed, saved countless lives at the height of the crisis.

Professor Aspinall led the small scientific team which established the first volcano observatory on Montserrat and was the guiding light behind advances in risk management, hazard mapping and public awareness, which were subsequently acknowledged as setting new world standards. His dedication to the community during the height of the crisis went well beyond his scientific duty.

Professor Aspinall became the mentor to many younger British scientists who came to Montserrat to work at the world leading Montserrat Volcano Observatory. He was also largely responsible for two young Montserratian students taking up volcanology at a UK University. He was also a founding member, and for many years the Chairman, of the high level international Scientific Advisory Committee (SAC), established and funded by the FCO from 1996, to provide on-going scientific advice to the Governor, Government of Montserrat and to the UK Government, over many
years. He retired from the SAC in late 2015.

Her Excellency sends Professor Aspinall her warm congratulations and thanks on behalf of the UK Government, Montserrat and Montserratians and on behalf of the several Governors and Chief Ministers with whom Professor Aspinall worked.