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11 March 2016

St David Awards 2016

The 2016 St David Awards were announced last night. A number of people winning awards this year are already active on the world stage. They again show Welsh talent and character at its best.

The awards were created to recognise the great deeds and often extraordinary contributions made by people from all walks of life.

The winners of the 2016 St David Awards are as follows:

International – Julie Gardner MBE

Julie Gardner

For her many years of work in raising the profile of Welsh TV production and the creative industries around the world, the International Award was presented to Julie Gardner.  She has a long history in championing Wales – when she led the revival of Dr Who in 2005, she was instrumental in making the programmes in Wales, rather than at BBC studios in England.

Since joining BBC Worldwide America as Senior Vice President in 2009, she has used the role to promote Wales to the US TV industry.  Julie has been responsible for attracting valuable inward investment into Wales which has resulted in the creation of a new state-of-the-art studio in Swansea.  Her latest venture is Bad Wolf, a new transatlantic company based in south Wales and Los Angeles producing big-budget TV series and films for the global television market.

Culture – Owen Sheers

Owen Sheers

Owen Sheers was presented with the Culture award for his work as one of Wales’ most prominent wordsmiths – he’s a renowned author, poet and playwright.  A two-times winner of the Wales Book of the Year, in 2014 his poem “Mametz Wood” was staged by National Theatre Wales and described as one of the most innovative productions to commemorate the centenary of the outbreak of the First World War.

In 2015 he joined Swansea University as Professor in Creativity where he plays a key role in nurturing creativity among staff, students and the community.

Sport – Chris Coleman

Chris Coleman

Swansea-born Chris Coleman won the award for his role in leading the Wales football team to the 2016 European Championship.  To the whole country’s delight, it is of course, the first time that the team has reached the finals of a major championship since 1958.  His unquestionable passion to succeed is apparent when engaging with fans and players alike, and he and the team will be a huge inspiration for youngsters across Wales.

Enterprise – Dr Dominic Griffiths

Dr Dominic Griffiths established leading medical device manufacturing company Alesi-Surgical and won the award for his remarkable success in creating and marketing Ultravision, a new system which clears surgical smoke from the visual field during keyhole surgery and prevents its release into the operating theatre during the procedure.

The invention is now set for exports to hospitals across Europe.  It was awarded a nationwide prize at the Praxis Unico Impact Awards, as well as both the New Venture and the first ‘People’s Choice’ Award at this year’s Cardiff University Innovation and Impact Awards.

Innovation and Technology – Geraint Davies

Geraint Davies

For his role in developing part of the real time video app, Periscope, the award for Innovation and Technology was given to Geraint Davies from Anglesey.

Periscope was launched in March 2015 and enables users to view the world in real time, through someone else’s eyes and to broadcast live events to their followers instantly through videos.  It is this important video element that Geraint built which is central to the app’s function.  The app won the Apple App Store title of ‘App of the Year for 2015’, less than a year after it was launched.

Bravery - Peter Fuller

After selflessly stepping in to prevent a horrific machete attack, Peter Fuller from Mold was presented with the award for Bravery.

When Dr Sarandev Bhambra was attacked in his local supermarket, Peter bravely stepped between him and his attacker, with little thought to his own safety.  He diffused the machete attack and it is believed that he saved a life in doing so.

Citizenship – Janet Williams

Janet Williams from Porthmadog won the award for making a real difference to the lives of children who could not, for whatever reason, live with their own families.  As well as bringing up her three children, Janet has fostered more than 100 children over the past 35 years, even going as far as adopting.

Janet has also mentored and trained other foster carers.  She founded and chaired the Gwynedd Foster Carers Association and has been a trustee of the Fostering Network Wales.

Young Person – Carwyn Williams

Carwyn Williams who is from Llandudno, was expelled from school and after being transferred to a specialist unit, left school with no qualifications.  Two years later, he has turned his life around.  He is now an enthusiastic volunteer at the Healthy Image Project, where he promotes physical activity and a healthy lifestyle to young people.

He recently won the Wales Young Volunteer of the Year award at the National StreetGames Awards and was part of a group to receive a Highly Commended award by the Wales Council for Voluntary Action.

First Minister’s Special Award – Nigel Owens

Widely regarded as being the best rugby referee in the world, Nigel has won the award for that achievement and for being a fabulous ambassador for Wales.

The only Welsh referee at the 2007 Rugby World Cup in France and the 2011 Rugby World Cup in New Zealand – Nigel’s most memorable moment of his career so far was overseeing the 2015 Rugby World Cup final in England, watched by an estimated global audience of around 120 million people.

Nigel has battled with his own personal issues but has offered inspiration to many people – particularly young people - about how to be true to themselves and to live the life they choose. Since deciding, in his words ‘to stop living a lie’ and declaring to the world that he is gay, Nigel has spent a lot of time speaking about his sexuality and has helped many young people in particular come to terms with their own sexuality and to have the confidence to discuss it with their families and friends. He is true role model.

First Minister of Wales Carwyn Jones said:

“Congratulations to all of the winners of tonight’s awards, I applaud and thank you for your boldness, brilliance and bravery.

“I’d also like to congratulate all of the finalists who made the award’s shortlist, you also should be extremely proud of your achievements.”

“I’d also like to remind everyone that if you have been inspired by tonight’s winners and finalists, nominations are now open for St David Awards 2017.”