TWO Gwent award finalists missed out on lifting a new Welsh award last night.
Nine people collected awards last night at the first St David Awards that recognise the extraordinary achievements of people in Wales.
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, was a finalist in the culture category. But he lost out to singer Cerys Matthews who was recognised for her promotion of Welsh music.
Also attending the event at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama in Cardiff was finalist Julian Davenne, 43, from Cwmbran, who was in the running for an award in the citizenship category, having worked with children and young people for two decades.
But taking the award was Yaina Samuels, who established her own social enterprise NU-Hi Ltd, to educate and train others about substance misuse after recovering from drug addiction herself.
Speaking about his nomination Mr Davenne, who is now the line manager for the play service in Torfaen council, said: “I feel honoured. This nomination is about everybody I work with, it’s not just me, I can’t do it on my own.”
First minister Carwyn Jones added: “The winners of these awards are exceptional people.”
They have done extraordinary and inspiring things and I’m proud that the Welsh Government has been able to recognise their achievements through these first-ever St David Awards.
“As well as acknowledging the winners, I’d like to recognise those finalists who did not receive an award. They have moving and motivating stories and are a credit to themselves, their families and communities. Just to be short-listed for an award such as this is a tremendous feat in itself.”
The ceremony was hosted by TV presenter Gethin Jones and was broadcast on S4C at last night.
Also picking up an award was Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson in the sport category. The winner of the St David International Award was Welsh bass-baritone Bryn Terfel and Olympic women’s Taekwondo champion Jade Jones MBE took the award for Young People.
For a full list of winners see www.stdavidawards.org.uk