Council leader among Queen’s birthday honours
10:30pm Friday 13th June 2014 in News
TORFAEN council leader Bob Wellington is among the Gwent recipients to be recognised in this year’s Queen’s birthday honours receiving a CBE for services to local government.
Cllr Wellington, who has served on Torfaen council representing the Greenmeadow ward for 33 years and as its leader for a decade, said he was “very pleased” with the honour but said he hadn’t achieved it on his own.
He said: “It is obviously taking into account of what I’ve done for 30 years.
“But you don’t win awards on your own. Nobody can do anything on their own. You need to work together with other people.”
Cllr Wellington, who moved to Cwmbran from Blaina 44 years ago, is the leader of the Welsh Local Government Association (WLGA) and has also served as Torfaen council’s deputy leader.
Among his achievements, he played a key part in Blaenavon’s rejuvenation and it achieving UNESCO World Heritage status and was also an advocate for the creation of Cwmbran’s Greenmeadow Community Farm.
Joining Cllr Wellington in the honours list is chief executive of St David’s Hospice Care, Emma Saysell who is awarded an MBE while Gwent police chief constable Jeff Farrar gets a Queen’s Police medal.
Mrs Saysell said her honour, which was for services to voluntary sector health provision in Newport, was a tribute to all the supporters, volunteers and staff at St David’s.
The mum of two from Chepstow, 44, joined St David’s Hospice Care 19 years ago, initially working as a nurse for Velindre.
She said: “I was completely shocked and humbled when I found out.
“I am just passionate about St David’s Hospice Care in Wales and I want to say that it is down to the amazing staff who work with me and the volunteers at St David’s.
“Hospice care relies so heavily people’s support, volunteers and staff.
“This is a tribute to them.
“Most people who know me know that I just love it. It is not just a job to me, it is a life choice. It is my hobby.
“I am completely humbled and grateful. I am thrilled.”
Chief constable Jeff Farrar said his honour had left him “delighted, honoured and surprised”.
The chief constable has more than 30 years police service in Wales during which he has been responsible for a wide range of achievements.
He has led operational policing for a number of large scale events including FA/ Carling Cup finals and international rugby and boxing matches. He will be responsible for policing at the NATO Summit which will be held at the Celtic Manor Resort in September.
Nationally he is the lead for crime recording and statistics, vice chairman of Police Sport UK, chairman of Police Sport (Wales) and chairman of Police Sport (UK) Basketball.
Mr Farrar leads for the four Welsh forces on protecting vulnerable people and human trafficking, and is chairman of the Welsh Government's effective services for vulnerable people group.
He said: “After over 30 years in policing I have always tried to give 100 per cent commitment to serving our communities.
“I am extremely grateful to those people who nominated me for this award, but it would not have happened without the support of hundreds of hard working officers and staff who have served with me over the years.
“It is a proud moment for me and my family, and it will be an especially proud day for my parents when they accompany me to the palace to receive the medal from the Queen.”
Also among the honours were three Gwent recipients of a British Empire Medal.
They were Marion Hook, of Blackwood, a volunteer with St John Cymru, who was awarded for her services to first aid.
Graeme Knowles, of Cwmbran, who is chairman of the Gwent Dolphin disabled swimming club, was awarded for voluntary services to adults and children with disabilities in Torfaen through swimming and football while Sharon Lacey, of Chepstow, was honoured for services to speech and language therapy in Newport.
Mrs Hook, 64, said she was elated with the news.
She said: “I’m just very, very pleased. I am sure that other family and friends will be just as pleased.”
Originally from Risca, she joined St John Ambulance 51 years ago as a 13-year-old because one of her favourite uncles was an officer in the group.
And although she no longer goes out on duty, she remains the regional treasurer for St John Wales’ Gwent County.
In the past she has been a cadet leader and was Pontllanfraith’s division leader.
Mr Knowles, 58, originally of Bolton, said: “I am obviously very pleased.”
The father of five said: “I have been with the group quite a few years now, as I took over on the 25th anniversary 14 years ago.”
The Gwent Dolphin disabled swimming club teaches disabled people in Torfaen to swim, and improves both their co-ordination skills and fitness levels through swimming. The club also provides interaction for disabled people including parties and trips which they would not otherwise be involved in.
Speaking about the club, Mr Knowles said: “The service is all voluntary.
“I became involved as my son Andrew who is 26, has learning difficulties and joined as a helpful parent and became chairman three years after I joined.”
Mrs Lacey, a professional lead for adult speech and language at Aneurin Bevan Health Board, has worked in the role continuously in Gwent since 1988, and previously worked there in 1982. She is currently based at the Anuerin Bevan speech and language therapy department in Caerleon.
She said: “It was a bolt out of the blue really – I had a letter last month telling me I had been nominated and that was an honour in itself.
“I feel delighted and extremely humbled. I have been very lucky and have worked with fantastic colleagues and patients throughout my career. I have learnt a lot from my patients and particularly enjoy the one on one work.
She added: “I have just done my job. I’m a firm believer in the NHS and patient care, so I just try to do the best I can. It’s lovely to be honoured in this way – I’m thrilled.”
POSTHUMOUS HONOUR: Stephen Sutton
TEENAGE cancer victim Stephen Sutton was honoured with an MBE, just weeks after losing his fight against the disease.
The 19-year-old, who was diagnosed with bowel cancer at the age of 15, became a household name as he helped raise £4million for the fight against cancer.
His mum Jane said she was “truly delighted and immensely proud” that her son had been recognised and said Stephen, who accepted the honour before his death on May 14, had acknowledged his MBE as “awesome”.
WALES COACH: Warren Gatland
Among Wales’ stars being honoured were singer songwriter Cerys Matthews who receives an MBE while Wales rugby head coach Warren Gatland gets an OBE.
Homeland star Damian Lewis, who has Welsh roots, is also awarded an OBE.
Also honoured were Argus columnist Martin Lewis, founder of MoneySavingExpert.com, who gets an OBE for services to consumer rights and charitable services, while Torchwood star John Barrowman receives an MBE.
Elsewhere in the showbiz world, A-lister Angelina Jolie becomes an honorary dame for her work to fight sexual violence while actress Dame Maggie Smith was made a Companion of Honour.
Daniel Day-Lewis also receives a knighthood.
Announcing the latest rounds of honours, the Cabinet Office said more than 1,100 people had received an award.
Women received 49 per cent of the honours after the New Year’s Honours became the first in which there were more women on the list than men.