First Minister's Special Award 2014 Winner
This award is dedicated to the whole community of Machynlleth, some of whom were involved in the search for April Jones in October 2012.
The First Minister invited April’s parents Paul and Coral Jones to the St David Awards Ceremony to jointly present this award to the community that helped them through the bleakest of times. Carwyn Jones AM, First Minister of Wales said on giving the Award that:
My special award is designed to recognise those people who do extraordinary things, perhaps in extraordinary circumstances. The community spirit we witnessed in Machynlleth during the horrifying events of October 2012 remains an inspiration. The whole community showed resilience, a quite exceptional unity of purpose and the very best of support. We heard incredible stories coming from this community. The help came from every area – from the bin men who searched endlessly, to the headteacher who offered support in helping the children come to terms with what had happened, to the hundreds of people who searched day and night, donating food, making sandwiches, helping anyway they could. I know that Paul and Coral found much comfort from the support offered by the neighbours and it felt right for them to join me in presenting this award to a truly inspirational community.
Speaking in response on behalf of the whole community of Machynlleth, the Reverend Kathleen Rogers said:
We are honoured to have been a part of this event this evening to represent the community of Machynlleth, and on their behalf we thank the First Minister for this prestigious award in recognition of the efforts of the community during a difficult and very traumatic time. People came to Machynlleth in their droves, from near and far, during those first weeks in October 2012 to help us and we owe them a debt of gratitude too. April Jones in her very short life has left a lasting legacy to our community and that is, the true meaning of unity, compassion and love. She will always be in our hearts. It is the intention of the representatives to arrange a family day in the summer for the community of Machynlleth. A day to say thank you.
The First Minister’s Special Award is the only St David Award for which people could not be publicly nominated. The winner is chosen by the First Minister himself.