Some of Wales' most brave and inspirational people were out in force last night, at the first ever St David Awards. Held in Cardiff the event rewarded those who make a real difference to lives throughout Wales. Megan Boot reports.
The community of Machynlleth were honoured with the First Minister's Special Award at the St David Awards in Cardiff for their spirit in the search for April Jones.
Inviting April's parents, Paul and Coral Jones onto the stage, the First Minister said the community showed resilience and a unity of purpose:
– First Minister Carwyn Jones
“We heard incredible stories coming from this community. The help came from every area – from the bin men who searched endlessly, to the headteacher who offered support in helping the children come to terms with what had happened, to the hundreds of people who searched day and night, donating food, making sandwiches, helping anyway they could.
“I know that Paul and Coral found much comfort from the support offered by the neighbours and it felt right for them to join me in presenting this award to a truly inspirational community.”
The first St David Award winners were announced at a ceremony in Cardiff this evening.
The awards celebrate the extraordinary achievements of people in Wales and were presented in nine different categories.
One of the winners was Karin Williams, the lollipop lady who stepped in front of a car to protect schoolchildren outside Rhws Primary School, who was presented with the St David Award for Bravery.
Other winners included Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson for her athletic successes and for promoting disability sport, and singer Bryn Terfel for promoting Welsh culture internationally
Winners in full:
- St David Award for Innovation and Technology - Dr Lyn Evans CBE
- St David Award for Sport - Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson
- St David Award for Bravery - Karin Williams
- St David Award for Citizenship - Yaina Samuels
- St David international Award - Bryn Terfel
- St David Award for Enterprise - Robin Jones
- St David Award for Culture - Cerys Matthews
- St David Award for Young People - Jade Jones MBE
- First Minister's Special Award - the community of Machynlleth
TV presenter Gethin Jones says he is 'privileged' to be hosting the first St David Awards. The awards have been devised by the Welsh Government as a way of showcasing the extraordinary achievements of people who work to better the lives of others across Wales.
Mr Jones said: "It is a real privilege to be asked to host the first St David Awards Ceremony.
"There are so many exceptional talented people in Wales doing their bit for our country and I am proud to have the opportunity to be part of presenting them to the nation and learning more about their amazing stories and contributions."
The First Minister, Carwyn Jones, says the St David Awards are a chance for the achievements of people who work tirelessly to help others, to be recognised.
– First Minister, Carwyn Jones
We may be a small country but the achievements and endeavours of ordinary people are considerable - people who work tirelessly for others and make a real difference to the quality of life in Wales, and expect nothing in return. It is those achievements that I believe should be recognised and celebrated through these St David Awards.
The winners of the first St David Awards will be announced later. A ceremony will be held at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama with the awards being handed out by TV presenter Gethin Jones.
The awards have been created by the Welsh Government to celebrate the outstanding achievements of people across Wales.
First Minister Carwyn Jones has told ITV News the St David Awards are an important addition to the existing honours system.
– First Minister Carwyn Jones
Money's very tight at the moment; we've already got an honours system - why do we need the St David Awards as well? Because it's important that we have a system that complements the existing honours.
It's not an enormous cost - but it does mean we can say to people 'thanks for what you've done, thanks for the contribution you've made to Welsh life'.
The finalists of the first national St David Awards will be announced at the Wales Millennium Centre in Cardiff today.
The First Minister, Carwyn Jones, will unveil the shortlist designed to recognise exceptional achievements.
There are nine awards on offer - including a range of skills from sport to innovation and technology.
The awards will be given to people who are not simply doing their jobs, but rather those who do make a real difference to the quality of life in Wales.
The award ceremony will be held at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama on Thursday March 13th.