The winners of this year’s St David Awards have been revealed at a special ceremony in the Senedd in Cardiff Bay.
The annual awards, now in their 6th year, were created to recognise the great achievements, deeds and extraordinary contributions made by people from all walks of life across Wales.
The First Minister Mark Drakeford said:
“Our St David Award winners really are everyday saints – they’re the people in our communities who are working for change. They are the organisations supporting others to achieve their dreams and they’re the people who find themselves in unprecedented situations when they’re walking down the street.
“The St David Awards are a fantastic way to acknowledge and celebrate the exceptional stories and inspiring talent we have across Wales. Each and every finalist embodies the essence of Wales – they are life-changers.”
The award categories are: Bravery, Citizenship, Culture, Enterprise, Innovation, Science and Technology, International, Sport, Young Person and the First Minister’s Special Award.
This year’s special award was chosen by former First Minister, Carwyn Jones. The award has been presented to distinguished historian Professor Sir Deian Hopkin.
Sir Hopkin was appointed as the Welsh Government’s expert adviser on the First World War commemoration project Cymru’n Cofio – Wales Remembers 1914-1918.
He led the way on designing and arranging the commemorations for the First World War in Wales, ensuring the centenary received the attention it deserved, giving people a better understanding of the Great War’s causes and its consequences on Welsh families and communities.
The 2019 St David Awards winners are:
Bravery – Andrew Niinemae
Announced by South Wales Police Chief Constable Matt Jukes.
Andrew risked his life trying to stop a car from driving into a crowd of around 20 people outside a pub in Whitchurch, Cardiff. He suffered serious injuries to his leg but his actions prevented other people from being seriously injured. Andrew acted on instinct and showed courageous behaviour to put others before himself. Witnesses say that without his intervention there could have been many injuries and possible fatalities.
Citizenship – Cardiff Street Pastors
Announced by Phil George.
Cardiff Street Pastors is an initiative involving 25 local churches. Trained volunteers patrol Cardiff city centre on Friday and Saturday nights to help those in need. The team of more than 60 street pastors work with South Wales Police, Cardiff Council, Cardiff University, Cardiff and Vale University Health Board and local businesses and has volunteered thousands of hours of service to Cardiff’s night-time economy.
Culture – Hijinx Theatre
Announced by Mathew Milsom.
Hijinx is a pan-Wales theatre company, which always casts neuro-divergent and learning disabled actors in its award-winning theatre productions. Hijinx uses theatre to tackle the complex social problems of integrating learning disability into the workplace and society. It is driven by the ambition to reduce inequality and believes everyone should have the right to access a rich cultural education and lead a dynamic, creative life.
Enterprise – Hilltop Honey
Announced by Phil Henfrey. [Scott was unable to attend the ceremony – the award was accepted on his behalf by his marketing team].
Scott established Hilltop Honey in 2011 and the company has experienced exceptional levels of growth in the years since, with turnover increasing from £234,000 to more than £4 million. Hilltop Honey was the first company to go to market with an organic Fairtrade honey and now all its products are available in reusable glass jars or 100% recyclable bottles. The company donates 25% of its profits to a children’s charity.
Innovation, Science and Technology – Cerebra Innovation Centre
Announced by Deb Barber.
Cerebra is a charity dedicated to helping families with children with brain conditions discover a better life together. It has established a partnership with the University of Wales Trinity Saint David to establish the Cerebra Innovation Centre (CIC). Based at the Swansea College of Art, a team of engineers design and build innovative, bespoke products to help disabled children to discover the world around them. The designs are exciting and functional, promoting social inclusion and peer acceptance for the children. Products and advice are provided free.
International – Liam Rahman
Announced by Uzo Uwobi.
From Carmarthenshire, Liam studied at Yale-NUS College (Singapore) and Yale University (USA), majoring in philosophy, politics and economics. Returning to Wales in 2017, Liam became the director of E-Qual Education, a company he co-founded in 2011 and now employs more than 100 people. Liam is an avid supporter of the Seren Network, the Welsh Government’s flagship initiative to help pupils to gain places in top universities, for which he mentors students and guides schools to learn more about international opportunities.
Sport – Geraint Thomas OBE
Announced by Catrin Heledd. [Geraint was unable to attend the ceremony – his parents accepted the award on his behalf].
Last year was an amazing year for cyclist Geraint, who won the iconic Tour de France road race in the summer. He became the first Welshman to win the event and only the third British rider after Sir Bradley Wiggins and Chris Froome. His achievement was celebrated at a homecoming event in Cardiff, with more than 10,000 people present to congratulate him on his achievement. The National Velodrome of Wales in Newport has been renamed the Geraint Thomas Velodrome.
Young Person – Bethan Owen
Announced by Sian Lewis.
Bethan is a sixth form pupil but from a young age she has been helping her father to care for her mother who has epilepsy. When she was 6, Bethan was introduced to karate to give her a focus away from her responsibilities at home. By the age of 12, Bethan was a black belt and a qualified karate instructor. Once qualified, Bethan opened her first not-for-profit karate club for other young carers aged 6 to 9. The club supports them to develop confidence, self-esteem and have a break from their caring responsibilities.
A special programme about the St David Awards will be on ITV Wales at 10.40pm on Tuesday 2 April.