Hon­our­ing the un­sung he­roes who are the pride of a na­tion

With only one month left un­til the clos­ing date of nom­i­na­tions for next year’s St David Awards, now is your chance to put for­ward your ‘Welsh le­gends’ for a chance to win na­tional recog­ni­tion for their out­stand­ing achieve­ments...

Western Mail - - WM2 -

THE St David Awards recog­nise and cel­e­brate the ex­cep­tional achieve­ments of peo­ple from all walks of life in Wales.

Now in their fifth year, nom­i­na­tions are cur­rently be­ing sought, with just over one month to go un­til the clos­ing date on Wed­nes­day, Oc­to­ber 18.

The award cer­e­mony will take place on Thurs­day, March 22, 2018, and for the first time, the event will be pre­sented by S4C, BBC Ra­dio Wales and Cap­i­tal South Wales pre­sen­ter Geraint Hardy and jour­nal­ist and TV host Ca­trin Haf Jones.

Geraint said: “I’m thrilled to be pre­sent­ing such im­por­tant awards. We have some ev­ery­day he­roes in Wales and this is a chance for some of them to be recog­nised for what they do daily with­out even think­ing about it.

“I was moved by so many of the sto­ries last year and I’m sure that will be the case again this year. It’s one of those nights where I’m so proud to be Welsh.”

Ca­trin is also look­ing for­ward to pre­sent­ing the awards.

She said: “I’m re­ally look­ing for­ward to pre­sent­ing the awards cer­e­mony with Geraint.

“Hav­ing en­joyed an awe-in­spir­ing event last year, show­cas­ing the range and depth of tal­ent we nur­ture here in Wales, I can’t wait to see who makes it to the short­list this time.

“To our credit, we do hu­mil­ity very well here in Wales – but cel­e­brat­ing our best peo­ple, from cul­ture to en­ter­prise, from sport to com­mu­nity he­roes, is some­thing we don’t do of­ten enough, and it’s so im­por­tant to high­light the con­tri­bu­tions of those who make Wales such a great coun­try!”

Some of last year’s win­ners and fi­nal­ists in­clude Gary Slack and Billy Con­nor, on-call fire­fight­ers at Tenby Fire Sta­tion who won the St David Award for Brav­ery for their role in sav­ing two teenagers who had got into dif­fi­culty in the sea at Cas­tle Beach, Tenby from drown­ing.

David Ban­ner, from the Rhondda, won the St David Award for En­ter­prise last year.

As well as be­ing a multi-award­win­ning games de­signer and man­ag­ing di­rec­tor of Pen­coed-based Wales In­ter­ac­tive, Dai has been instrumental in the growth of Wales’ games in­dus­try. He founded the an­nual Wales Game Show in 2012 and cre­ated the GamesLab pro­ject, a dig­i­tal de­vel­op­ment ini­tia­tive for the Uni­ver­sity of South Wales which has nur­tured hun­dreds of stu­dents and pro­vides a global plat­form for Welsh dig­i­tal com­pa­nies.

Nizar Da­han reached the fi­nal in the In­ter­na­tional cat­e­gory for his hu­man­i­tar­ian work.

Nizar, from Swansea, works for the Hu­man Re­lief Foun­da­tion and was nom­i­nated for his ex­ten­sive in­ter­na­tional hu­man­i­tar­ian work in re­sponse to the refugee cri­sis and for es­tab­lish­ing the Swansea Hu­man­i­tar­ian Aid Re­sponse Pro­ject, which sup­ports dis­placed and vul­ner­a­ble peo­ple.

Talking about his nom­i­na­tion, he said: “To be nom­i­nated for this award re­stores my faith in hu­man­ity. For my work to be recog­nised, it means that peo­ple care, so maybe we can change the world and help the less for­tu­nate and pro­tect the vul­ner­a­ble.”

Jes­sica Leigh Jones was a fi­nal­ist in the In­no­va­tion, Science and Tech­nol­ogy cat­e­gory.

She is an astro­physics grad­u­ate and award-win­ner for de­vel­op­ing a se­ries of novel fi­bre-op­tic trans­duc­ers. An ad­vo­cate for tech­ni­cal sciences, she is also di­rec­tor of the En­gi­neer­ing Ed­u­ca­tion Scheme Wales and pa­tron of Science and En­gi­neer­ing at Al­ton Con­vent School.

The Welsh mem­bers of Team GB and Par­a­lympics GB reached the fi­nal of the Sport cat­e­gory af­ter a very suc­cess­ful Olympic Games and Par­a­lympics in Rio in 2016.

The 24 Welsh ath­letes se­lected by Team GB were the largest-ever over­seas con­tin­gent of Welsh ath­letes at an Olympic Games, while the 26 Welsh Par­a­lympic ath­letes ac­counted for 10% of the Great Bri­tain team. The rep­re­sented the coun­try with dig­nity and courage.

They said: “Af­ter such an in­cred­i­ble sum­mer, we were so proud to be nom­i­nated. Wales is small but we’re achiev­ing great things!”

The fi­nal­ists and win­ners are de­cided upon by First Min­is­ter Car­wyn Jones and the St David Awards Ad­vi­sory Com­mit­tee, a group of in­de­pen­dent se­nior fig­ures in Welsh pub­lic life and pre­vi­ous award-win­ners or fi­nal­ists.

Chaired by Dr Phil Ge­orge, chair of the Arts Coun­cil of Wales, the com­mit­tee will meet in De­cem­ber to dis­cuss the nom­i­nees and will put for­ward a short­list of three in each cat­e­gory for the First Min­is­ter to se­lect a win­ner.

Help find more in­di­vid­u­als and groups for Wales to be proud of. Nom­i­nate your Welsh le­gends be­fore Oc­to­ber 18 at www.st­davi­dawards.org.uk

2017 fi­nal­ists Nizar Da­han, Jes­sica Leigh-Jones and David Ban­ner

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> First Min­is­ter Car­wyn Jones at this year’s event with win­ners of the Brav­ery award Billy Con­nor and Gary Slack

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