New Year Honours: Olympians, Paralympians and NHS heroes among Welsh names recognised

Clockwise: Lauren Price, Frank Atherton, Bnar Talabani and David Smith Credit: PA

People across Wales have once again been recognised in the UK's New Years Honours list.

After a second year of the coronavirus pandemic, a number of health professionals are recognised for their services.

Strong Welsh performances in the Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games also mean there is a strong Welsh sporting contingent on the list.

Bnar Talabani

An Iraqi-born Kurdish refugee who moved to the UK in 1998, Bnar Talabani has been awarded an MBE for services to the NHS and to the accessibility of coronavirus vaccinations to ethnic minority communities in Wales

Bnar now works as a kidney and transplant medical specialist at Cardiff University and is training as a scientist in immunology.

During her medical career, she has published a number of publications on acute kidney injury and has also been awarded the Wellcome Trust Clinical Primer Award for her work in improving current understanding of kidney injury and chronic kidney disease. 

As a member of both the Muslim Doctors Cymru Group and the Wales Medical COVID-19 response group, she has worked hard to promote health and well-being in Muslim and Black and Minority Ethnic communities, to dispel the misinformation surrounding vaccines. 

She has also worked hard to help Public Health Wales understand the ethnic breakdown of vaccine uptake by conducting multiple surveys to generate good quality data from ethic communities. 

Bnar has also worked closely with the British Society of Immunology to create public accessible content on Covid vaccines.

Jenny Lewis

A long-serving paramedic at the Welsh Ambulance Service, Jenny Lewis has been awarded the Queen’s Ambulance Service Medal for distinguished service.

The mother-of-two, who is based in Dobshill, Flintshire, has more than 30 years of service having joined Clwyd Ambulance Service as an emergency medical technician in 1991.Jenny played an instrumental role in the move to the purpose-built Area Ambulance Centre in Dobshill in 2012, home to the Trust’s flagship Make Ready Depot.

In November, Jenny and her Operations Manager colleagues in North East Wales won a WAST Award for delivering outstanding patient care and supporting frontline colleagues.Jonathan Sweet, head of service for the Trust’s operational delivery unit, who nominated Jenny, said: “Jenny is a respected leader and a trusted peer among colleagues in North Wales, not to mention a compassionate paramedic.“She has worked relentlessly throughout her career to sharpen her clinical knowledge and management skills, and has led the Flintshire team through adversity in recent years following the unexpected death of two colleagues.

“We are delighted that Jenny is being celebrated for her enduring and positive contribution to the Trust and its people.”

David Smith

Swansea’s Paralympic gold medallist David Smith has also been awarded an MBE for services to Boccia.

His victory in Tokyo made him the most decorated British player in the history of the sport.

Smith, diagnosed with cerebral palsy at one year of age, has now won three Paralympic gold medals.

Having graduated with a degree in Aerospace Engineering at Swansea University, he now also works as a lifestyle coach and is an advocate of independent living for disabled people.

Frank Atherton

Wales’s chief medical officer has spoken of the “great privilege” of being knighted in the New Year Honours.

Dr Frank Atherton, who has been given a knighthood for services to public health, said the past two years have been “really difficult”, but added there is “great strength” in the UK making “collective decisions” to combat the virus after each UK nation imposed different rules around the Christmas and new year period.

Dr Atherton said: “I’ve always felt throughout this pandemic that there is great strength when we have collective decisions and we have common process.

“We’ve tried, my fellow CMOs and myself, we’ve always tried to ensure that happens to the greatest degree possible.

“Obviously the ways of transmission have occurred at different times, in different countries, and different countries have made their own responses.

“In Wales, ministers have tended to be more cautious then in some other nations and that’s generally been welcomed by the population here – our public surveys suggest that people generally feel that the Welsh Government has done a reasonable job of keeping them safe.

“Some variation is inevitable, but where we can have common solutions that is a strength of the system as well.”

Lauren Price

Ystrad Mynach’s Olympic boxing champion Lauren Price said her late grandfather would have been the “proudest man in the valleys” after her inclusion in the New Year Honours list.

Price is to be made an MBE after winning gold in the women’s middleweight final at the Tokyo games.

The 27-year-old said it was an “absolute honour and privilege” as she paid tribute to the upbringing provided by her grandparents, who raised her.

Price said: “For me, it’s been a pretty special year, the best year of my career so far.

“It was a dream of mine since I was eight years of age to go and compete in an Olympic Games, yet alone win a gold.

“I remember being a little girl sat in my living room watching the likes of Kelly Holmes, someone who inspired me massively and over the years it has taken hard work and dedication.”

 “My nan and granddad have always supported me and encouraged me and if it wasn’t for them I wouldn’t have achieved what I have today.”

Price, has also won more than 50 caps for the Welsh football team and is a former world kickboxing champion.

Full list of Welsh people honoured

Dames Commander of the Order of the British Empire (DBE)

  • Dr Jennifer Margaret Harries | Chief Executive, UK Health Security Agency | For services to Health

Knights Bachelor

  • Dr Francis Atherton | Chief Medical Officer, Welsh Government | For services to Public Health

Commanders of the Order of the British Empire (CBE)

  • Albert Lawrence Heaney | Chief Social Care Officer for Wales | For services to Social Care

  • Professor Tavi Murray | Professor of Glaciology, Swansea University | For services to Glaciology and Climate Change Research

  • Dr Neil Rhys Wooding | For services to Social Justice, to Equality and to the community in Wales

Officers of the Order of the British Empire (OBE)

  • Alan Brace | Director of Finance, NHS Wales | For services to the NHS and the Covid-19 Response in Wales

  • Barclay John Davies | For services to Public Transport and to the Government

  • Aled Sion Davies | For services to Athletics

  • Graham Winston Edwards | Chief Executive, Wales and West Utilities | For services to Business and to the Community in Wales

  • Alison Kilbane-Griffiths | Corporate Customer Relationship Manager, Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency | For services to Transport

  • Horace Michael McEvoy | For services to the community in North Wales

  • Neil Moore | Leader, Vale of Glamorgan Council | For services to the community in the Vale of Glamorgan

  • David John Smith | For services to the sport of Boccia

  • Sanjiv Vedi | Assistant Director, Head, Office of the Chief Social Care Officer for Wales | For Public, Charitable and Voluntary Service

  • Janet Mary Wallsgrove | Director, H.M. Prison and Young Offender Institution Parc, G4S Care and Justice Services Limited | For services to the Prison Service

Members of the Order of the British Empire (MBE)

  • Dr Seema Safia Arif | For services to Health Care amongst the Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic Community

  • Dr Subramaniam Balachandran. Doctor and Lead, Cross Infection, Cardiff and Vale University Health Board |  For services to the NHS during Covid-19

  • Reverend Steven Leo Bunting | For charitable services to the community in Swansea

  • Julian MacLeod Paul Cash | Chair, Community Furniture Aid | For services to Homeless People in Bridgend

  • John Iestyn Davies | Co-Founder and Chair, Cyber Wales | For services to the UK Cyber Ecosystem

  • Samia Claire Edmonds | For services to the Covid-19 response

  • Professor Euan Jonathan Hails | For services to Children and Young People’s Mental Health in Wales

  • Simon Norris Lee | Group Chief Executive, Civil Service Sports Council | For services to Sport and Wellbeing

  • Laurence McBreen | For services to the Social Work Sector in South Wales

  • Lauren Louise Price | For services to Boxing

  • Dr Edward Morgan Roberts DL | For services to Medicine and to the community in Swansea and Neath Port Talbot

  • Dr Bnar Talabani | Kidney and Transplant Medical Specialist, University of Wales and Immunology Scientist | For services to the NHS and to the Ethnic Minority Communities in Wales, particularly during Covid-19

  • Rhian Louise Thomas | Head of Area Business Centre, Crown Prosecution Service, Cymru-Wales | For services to Law and Order

  • Caroline Thomas | Member, British Standards Institute Committee on Accessibility | For services to Consumers

  • Timothy John Walkden-Williams | For services to Business and the community in Prestatyn, North Wales

  • Michael John Walters | Lifeboat Operations Manager, Loughor Inshore Lifeboat | For service to the community in Swansea

  • Professor Nalin Chandra Wickramasinghe | For services to Science, Astronomy and Astrobiology

  • Timothy John Williams | Lately Chief Executive Officer, Welsh Automotive Forum | For services to the Automotive Industry

  • Alison Williams | Headteacher, Craigfelen School, Swansea | For services to Education and the community in Swansea

  • Ingrid Lesley Wilson | For services to Community Cohesion, to Race Equality and to Global Education

  • Linda June Alexander | For services to Patient Care and Alternative Workforce Solutions in NHS Wales

  • Maureen Flora Davies | For voluntary and public service in Anglesey

  • Richard Alun Jenkins | Councillor, Wrexham Council | For Political and Public Service

  • Ceri Anne Jones | Lead Community Diabetes Specialist Nurse, Cwm Taf Morganwg University Health Board | For services to Diabetes Care

  • Desmond Lally | For voluntary and charitable service to the community in Brecon

  • Maureen Powell | Councillor, Monmouthshire County Council | For Political Service. 

  • Joshua Reeves | Campaigns Support Officer, Leonard Cheshire | For services to People with Disabilities

  • Joan Scott | Community Champion, Asda | For services to the community in Pwllheli, North Wales

  • Catherine Margaret Spiller | Deputy Head of Estates, Reserve Forces and Cadets Association Wales | For services to the Reserves and Cadets Forces and to the community in Monmouth

  • Derek Edward John Warren | Warrant Officer, No 1 Welsh Wing, RAF Air Cadets | For voluntary service to Young Adults in South Wales

Queen’s Police Medal (QPM)

  • Anne Overton | Constable, South Wales Police

Queen’s Fire Service Medal (QFSM)

  • Jennifer Elizabeth Griffiths | Group Manager, South Wales Fire and Rescue Service

Queen’s Ambulance Service Medal (QAM)

  • Jennifer Margaret Lewis | Operations Manager, Welsh Ambulance Service.