A DEDICATED youth worker from Torfaen and the founder of a youth choir in Blaenau Gwent have been named as finalists at the inaugural St David's Awards.

Julian Davenne, 43, from Cwmbran, is a finalist in the Community award category, having worked with children and young people for two decades.

Mr Davenne is now the line manager for the play service in Torfaen council, heading up a team of nine full-time staff who all began as volunteers.

"It was lovely just to be nominated, I never thought I would get to this part, laughed Mr Davenne, who gives talks to groups about dyslexia, which he suffers from.

"I feel honoured. This nomination is about everybody I work with, it's not just me, I can't do it on my own."

Tim Rhys-Evans MBE, conductor of the Only Men Aloud choir and founder of the male youth choir Only Boys Aloud in Blaenau Gwent in 2010, has been named as a finalist in the Culture category alongside singer Cerys Matthews.

Run by the Welsh Government and sponsored by Welsh businesses including Golley Slater, the awards have been pipped as the Welsh equivalent of the New Year's Honours.

Welsh sportsmen and women like rugby ace Leigh Halfpenny and taekwondo champion Jade Jones are among the finalists, announced today at the Wales Millennium Centre in Cardiff Bay, by First Minister Carwyn Jones.

The AM said the people of Wales and those abroad answered the call for nominees "industriously" and the judging panel required "the wisdom of Solomon and the patience of Job".

The overall winners of the awards will be announced at a ceremony at the College of Music and Drama in Cardiff on March 13.