‘A total inspiration to us all’ – First Minister announces St David Awards finalists
Written by Gavin on 25th February 2021
First Minister Mark Drakeford has announced the inspirational people shortlisted for a St David Award.
Among this year’s finalists are a group who rescued people caught in the sea at Aberdyfi last summer; a volunteer group that supported their local community throughout the coronavirus pandemic and an artist whose painting of NHS workers became an iconic image of the past year.
The St David Awards are Wales’s national awards, which celebrate the extraordinary achievements of the people of Wales.
Announcing the finalists, the First Minister said:
“This year’s St David Awards finalists are an inspiring group of people that we are lucky to have living and working in Wales.
“The past year has been incredibly challenging for many of us. The coronavirus pandemic has brought much sadness and heartbreak – but it has also brought out the best in many people. This group of people from across the whole of Wales, are a true inspiration to us all.
“This year, we’ve added a new category to celebrate the contribution of our critical workers. Thousands of people have worked tirelessly and selflessly throughout the pandemic to keep our lives going through the hardest of times. I am so grateful for every act of kindness; big or small. We could not have responded the way we did without them.”
This year’s award categories are: Bravery; Business; Community Spirit; Culture and Sport; Humanitarian; Innovation, Science and Technology, Young Person Critical Worker and the First Minister’s Special Award. .
The online award ceremony will take place on Wednesday 24 March.
The finalists are:
- Alun Edwards, Arwel Jones, Drew Nickless and Josh, Will and Ollie Brown
RNLI volunteers Arwel, Drew and Alun were helped by brothers Josh, Will and Ollie when two separate groups of people got into trouble in the sea at Aberdyfi on a Sunday afternoon last summer. Their quick action helped saved the lives of seven people.
- Mark Smith, Geoff Handley and Adam Handley
Mark, along with father and son Geoff and Adam, saved the life of a woman trapped on the roof of her car after it became submerged in river water in Monmouth during unprecedented flooding.
- John Rees, Lisa Wray and Ayette Bounouri
John, Lisa and Ayette acted selflessly and with incredible valour in defending themselves and others during a fatal knife attack at the Coop store in Penygraig in 2020. Tragically, John lost his life whilst trying to save the lives of others.
- CERET team
At the start of the Coronavirus pandemic, representatives of a number of different organisations formed the CERET team to help source and establish robust supply chains for items for the health and care sector, such as visors, face masks, scrubs, gowns and sanitisers. They also championed innovation for medical devices.
- The Blaenafon Cheddar Company Ltd (Charlotte Hill)
During the pandemic, the Hill family have worked closely with other local businesses to create an online shop which promoted and sold local produce.
- Little Inspirations Ltd
Little Inspirations is a South Wales based company who provide childcare services. During the pandemic they stayed open and worked with seven local authorities to provide child care for essential workers and vulnerable families.
- Elizabeth (Buffy) Williams and Canolfan Pentre
The Centre is a volunteer group led by Buffy operating in the Rhondda Fawr. During 2020, they co-ordinated support for the victims of the winter flooding and responded to the COVID-19 pandemic by providing daily packed lunches, mindfulness bags for children and the delivery of care packages to the community.
- Denbighshire Dial a Ride
This volunteer service provides door-to-door transport to those in the community with a disability, impairment or those who cannot use public transport. During the pandemic the service has been a real life line to many in the community with volunteers also delivering prescriptions and doing people’s shopping.
- Dr Mahaboob Basha
Dr Basha is a long-term advocate for the BAME community, community campaigner and foodbank volunteer. During the pandemic, he delivered over 1400 prescriptions and food parcels to those in need. He also helped bereaved families to plan funerals during the crisis.
- Cherry Tree Care Home
During the first lockdown, nine members of staff at the Cherry Tree care home left their families for six weeks to move in with the residents at the care home in Coedpoeth, North Wales. The carers went above and beyond to protect others, sacrificing their time with their own families to provide reassurance to those in their care and to reduce the risk of infection
- Matthew’s House
The charity supports the most vulnerable in the community by providing meals, showers, laundry and dignity packs. During the pandemic the charity set up a campaign called Swansea Together bringing together over 50 local charities, businesses and volunteers who delivered over 18,000 hot meals to people in temporary accommodation.
- Trudy Fisher
Trudy is the coordinator for RCT Young Carers project. She has worked hard to support young carers and their families during lockdown – including arranging grants for electricity and food. Trudy delivered Easter eggs to the children, arranged weekly zoom sessions to help with their mental health and organised Christmas gifts and food vouchers.
Culture & Sport
- Delwyn Derrick
Delwyn is the founder of Bellevue Football in North-east Wales – a multi-ethnic and inclusion focussed football club. Delwyn uses sport to bring people from diverse backgrounds together, including refugees, asylum seekers and those people with mental health issues or learning difficulties.
- Kate Woolveridge, Forget Me Not Chorus
Opera singer Kate is the founder of the charity, “Forget Me Not Chorus”, Cardiff – a choir for people with Dementia and their carers. The charity now has 11 choirs across Wales – in the community, care homes and a hospital. During the pandemic, Kate made sure that the choristers weren’t left isolated by staging concerts in the car parks/gardens of care homes as well as organising Zoom sessions.
- Nathan Wyburn
During the pandemic, artist Nathan Wyburn created a portrait of a nurse in full PPE made up of tiny images of healthcare workers. This iconic picture quickly became the image many people associate most with this period of time. The image was put on the opening credits of popular tv show This Morning and also Good Morning America and The Today Show Australia.
- Angharad Paget Jones
Angharad, a disability rights campaigner from Port Talbot, has used her own experience of living with severe sight loss to raise awareness of the issues facing those with sight impairment. She is working with Wales’ four police forces to raise awareness of disability hate crime following abuse she faced during the first coronavirus lockdown.
- Hazel Lim
Hazel is founder of the Chinese Autism Support Group. Following her son’s diagnosis of Autism, Hazel knew that within Chinese culture, Autism is a taboo subject and has a huge stigma. Hazel is battling to change that perception and is campaigning to provide support to children and their families who need it.
- John Puzey
John has been Director of Shelter Cymru and a leading housing campaigner for over 30 years. He has overseen the growth and development of the charity to providing a wide range of housing advice services as well as increasing its campaigning and policy profile. Under his leadership, Shelter Cymru responded swiftly to the COVID-19 crisis, ensuring all services have remained in place and all sources of emergency funding were secured.
Innovation, Science & Technology
- Hand Sanitiser Project
There was a shortage of hand sanitiser at the start of the pandemic, due to a surge in demand. A team at Swansea University came together to produce World Health Organisation standard hand sanitiser and have since produced 34,000 litres which has been distributed to more than 100 organisations.
This collaboration between Small Business Research Initiative Centre of Excellence, and the Welsh Ambulance Service Trust came about at the start of the pandemic when there was an urgent need to speed up ambulance cleaning times. The collaboration has led to huge reduction in the time taken to clean ambulances.
- Wales Ventilator Challenge
Workers from Siemens and Airbus came together in March 2020 at the Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (AMRC Wales) in Broughton to transform the facility into an assembly line to produce medical ventilators on an unprecedented scale. Thanks to this collaboration a total of 13,437 ventilators were delivered to the NHS.
- Casey-Jane Bishop
Casey-Jane is 16 years old from the south Wales valleys and a member of the Welsh Youth Parliament. Casey-Jane has campaigned against bullying following years of bullying at school and has become a Young Ambassador for the charity, Bullies Out.
- Ethan Hutchings
12 year old Ethan helped rescue a drowning man from a river in Cwmafan, Neath Port Talbot, during the summer. Having brought him to safety, Ethan then helped administer CPR until emergency services arrived. Ethan is also suffering from thyroid cancer and had been shielding for 12 weeks before the incident.
- Molly Fenton – The Love Your period campaign
Molly is 18 years old from Cardiff and founded the Love Your Period campaign with her sister Tilly (12) to end period poverty and stigma for school pupils over Wales. She now offers advice to schools and the Welsh Government well as Cardiff Council. She has spoken at events all over the UK to raise awareness of the stigma and promote period dignity.