Liz Maher, director of Newport-based independent VAT specialists, Centurion VAT, was awarded an OBE in the Queen’s 2019 New Year’s Honours List.

The well-known businesswoman, who is a previous president of the South Wales Chamber of Commerce, receives the award for services to diversity and to economic development.

Liz said: “I can honestly say I was in a state of shock when I opened the letter - it was 'stir up' Sunday and I was making the family Christmas puddings.

"I understand that the award reflects my engagement over the years in promoting Women in Business, Young Enterprise and for my involvement in the wider business community in Wales through my membership of the CBI Wales Council and my role as president of South Wales Chamber of Commerce, but whatever the reasons, thank you to whoever it was who nominated me - it isn’t something I ever imagined happening to me!”

Ian Price, director, CBI Wales noted: "CBI Wales were really pleased to hear of the news of Liz receiving recognition of all the hard work she has done on behalf of Welsh Businesses.

"Liz and Centurion VAT have been CBI members for more than 10 years and in that time, Liz has gone above and beyond to represent Welsh businesses in front of Welsh and UK Government.”

“Liz has been a brilliant ambassador for Women in Business and has been a prime mover in making CBI Wales an exemplar and leader in diversity at the CBI. She is always at the end of the phone when required and is always prepared to give up her time while running a very successful business.”

Liz continues to promote and support Women in Business and Young Enterprise, as well as the numerous charities she is involved with.

She said: “Coming from Wales, I have strong work ethic and believe that education and application of effort to whatever you do in life will make the difference.

"I am proud to be a part of a great team at Centurion and at home with my family and couldn’t do it without their support.”