St David Awards – a decade celebrating Wales’ everyday heroes
Two teenagers who averted a serious car accident thanks to their quick thinking and the owner of a wig service for people suffering hair loss, are among those shortlisted for this year’s St David Awards.
The St David Awards are Wales’ national awards, which recognise people who have done extraordinary things.
This year’s awards celebrate people who have been nominated by the public in nine different categories, including bravery, business and community spirit. A special award will also be given by First Minister Mark Drakeford.
Announcing the shortlist First Minister, Mark Drakeford said:
“I would like to thank everyone who took the time to nominate someone for an award and congratulate all those who have been shortlisted for the 10th annual St David Awards.
“I am proud to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the awards and this year’s incredible finalists, some who have shown extraordinary acts of bravery and determination. We are very fortunate they call Wales home.”
The winners will be announced at a ceremony at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama in Cardiff on 20 April 2023.
The finalists are:
Dylan Pritchard Evans and Hari Thomas
14-year-old Hari Thomas and 13-year-old Dylan Pritchard-Evans from Ceredigion averted a tragedy on the M4 in January 2022. While being driven back from a Swansea City Football Academy training session, Hari’s mum became unconscious at the wheel of the car near junction 45 on the M4. Sitting alongside his mum, Hari bravely grabbed the steering wheel and steered the car for over a mile on the hard shoulder with the help of Dylan who told him to put the hazard lights on and alert other traffic there was a problem.
Gary Griffiths and Jon Stone
Gary Griffiths and Jon Stone were drivers of separate vehicles who witnessed a car accident on the A4232 in Cardiff in June 2022 and rescued a male driver from his burning car. Their combined actions helped to save the life of the male occupant of the car who was seriously injured.
Câr y Môr
Câr y Môr is the first ‘regenerative ocean farm’ in Wales. It is a seafood processing business and community benefit society based in St David’s, Pembrokeshire. Since its establishment in 2019, the business has expanded from two small trial sites to a three-hectare seaweed and shellfish farm with 12 employees.
Morgan’s Wigs, owned by Rebecca Morgan is a wig service for people experiencing hair loss from alopecia, chemotherapy treatment and other medical hair loss conditions. It is based in Prestatyn and Chester.
Rod Parker is the managing director of Gwalia Healthcare, a manufacturing company based in Treforest. Rod is the third generation to manage the company. Gwalia’s core business focuses on the manufacture of pharmaceutical packaging with a strong market presence providing child resistant technology with additional services, including medical device assembly.
Caroline Bridge, from Blaina in Blaenau Gwent, has been a dedicated volunteer fundraiser for the Hospice of the Valleys for more than 30 years. It is estimated that during this time she has directly raised more than £100,000 for the charity through a variety of fundraising events and collections.
Mollie Roach lives in Pembrokeshire and is the founder of a registered charity Solva Care, which offers a volunteer service to provide social support and care for its older people and their families.
South Wales Sponsorship for Ukraine
The South Wales Sponsorship for Ukraine Facebook page was set up by a group of volunteers across South Wales following the invasion of Ukraine in February 2022. The volunteers wanted to help Ukrainian people arriving in Wales and host families by offering help in matching Ukrainian guests to host families.
Nia is the manager of Ty Canna Mental Health Outreach, which supports hundreds of people across Cardiff. With more than 35 years’ experience in social care, her commitment has helped people through recovery to reach their potential. During the pandemic she realised the impact social isolation had, so quickly refocused critical services by delivering them virtually. She helped establish and oversee 40 online/in-person support groups, as well as offering LGBT+ support via counselling services.
Harm reduction team at the Huggard
Huggard is Wales’ leading centre for people who are homeless and sleeping rough in Cardiff. The pandemic brought additional challenges for people experiencing homelessness, particularly those living substance use issues. During this time, the Huggard remained open 24/7, while proactively and positively managing risk and keeping people safe. The harm reduction team offered practical help and advice, such as registering with a GP and other treatment services, as well as the supply, and disposal, of sterile equipment for injecting drug users to minimise the risk of them reusing or sharing, providing innovative harm reduction support.
Muslim Doctors Cymru
Muslim Doctors Cymru was formed in January 2021, to combat misinformation about the Covid-19 vaccines among ethnic minority communities in Wales and beyond. The group was founded by a group of Cardiff doctors who had noticed a high level of concern among ethnic minority communities towards the vaccines.
Dr Mark Taubert
Mark is a palliative care doctor, working in Velindre Cancer Centre, Llandough Hospital and Holme Towers hospice. He also chairs the national advance care planning group, where he has instated patient/carer representatives and promotes better choices in terminal illness.
Dafydd Iwan is a renowned folk singer who has risen to fame writing and performing folk music in Welsh. He was instrumental in the establishment of Recordiau Sain Cyf (Sain Records Ltd), one of the main Welsh music labels and has released many albums over the decades. One of his songs ‘Yma o Hyd’ was linked to the Wales football team’s qualification for the World Cup in 2022.
Jonathan Powell and Daniel Staveley collectively run Elysium Gallery and Studios in Swansea. Founded in 2007, Elysium was created to support and promote the arts in Swansea and beyond with an emphasis on collaboration and community.
Jannat Ahmed from Barry, in the Vale of Glamorgan has made a significant contribution to publishing in Wales, co-founding Lucent Dreaming, an inclusive publishing company which is supportive of contributors who have historically been neglected by, or excluded from, traditional publishing.
Unify is Welsh creative studio co-founded by visual artists Yusuf Ismail and Shawqi Hasson. Responsible for some of the most important art and cultural projects in the city, Unify’s mission is to make the creative industry in Wales more inclusive and accessible. Unify uses buildings in Cardiff for its murals which promote inclusivity within sport and have since developed educational initiatives to help young people express themselves and promote equality and diversity.
Andy Rowland, based in Machynlleth, has been working tirelessly for the past 30 years to protect the Welsh environment. He has dedicated his life to improving the communities for the people in Mid Wales and promoting a growing green economy.
Angel Shark project
The Angel Shark Project Wales team have undertaken ground-breaking research to better understand the critically endangered angel shark population off the Welsh coast. Launched in 2018, the focus of the project is to better understand and safeguard the rare shark population for future generations.
Ynni Adnewyddol Cwm Arian/ Cwm Arian Renewable Energy
CARE is a community benefit society making a positive impact for the local community in North East Pembrokeshire. After 13 years of campaigning, CARE has successfully erected a community 700KW wind turbine to generate clean energy near the village of Hermon and a number of other projects which will benefit the local community.
Innovation, Science and Technology
CanSense is a spin-out company formed at Swansea University in 2017. The team of dedicated, enthusiastic, and passionate clinicians, scientists, technologists and business experts, working on new innovative and more accurate diagnostic tests for the early detection of bowel cancer which is Wales' second leading cause of cancer death.
Dr Charles Willie
Dr Charles Willie is the founder and CEO of Diverse Cymru – a Wales wide equality organisation dedicated to eliminating discrimination and inequality. Dr Willie has designed and developed Diverse Cymru’s award winning BAME Cultural Competence Certification Scheme, which is believed to be the first of its kind in Europe. The scheme uses a workplace development tool to help organisations implement good workplace practice, ensuring services are fair and equitable for Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic people in Wales.
Kamal Ali from Newport designed the world’s first interactive prayer mat to help children and adults learn how to perform Salah – the daily prayer practiced by Muslims. Former teacher Kamal set up the company after he noticed his son struggling with his prayer positions. He created a touch sensitive interactive prayer mat teaching children the different positions in Salah.
Liam Davies is a 16-year old snooker player from Tredegar. He started playing snooker when he was six-and-a-half. He is currently ranked the Welsh men’s number one and holds the Guinness World Record for being the youngest ever player to compete in a professional tournament at the age of 12.
Olivia Breen is 27 and a paralympic athlete for Wales. Her main events are T38 sprint and F38 long jump. At the Commonwealth Games in Birmingham in 2022, she won a Gold in the F38 Long Jump and gold in the T37/38 100m in 2022.
Wales football team
The Wales National football team, led by Robert Page, reached the finals of the World Cup for the first time since 1958 by defeating Ukraine in the play-off final in June 2002.
18-year-old Dafydd Starkey, from the Rhondda has had to overcome significant challenges in his young life. Through no fault of his own, at a young age Dafydd had to access homelessness services and move into temporary supported accommodation. Despite the challenges of having to look after himself and to budget to pay for his living costs, he has successfully completed 4 A-levels and has been chosen as Llamau’s representative in the Welsh Youth Parliament.
Kai Hamilton-Frisby is a 16-year-old disabled sports star from Aberystwyth. Kai has cerebral palsy and, when he was seven, he had surgery which was meant to increase his mobility but did not work and was told he would not play sport. A year later, he was introduced to wheelchair basketball. He has represented Wales twice at under 14s (2018 and 2019), twice at the school games (2021 and 2022) and qualified for the senior Wales wheelchair basketball Commonwealth Games team at the age of 15.
Skye Neville is a 12-year-old environmental campaigner from Fairbourne in Gwynedd. She was shocked at the amount of plastic toys included with children’s magazines and started a petition to stop this happening. Supermarket Waitrose now no longer sells children’s magazines which include plastic toys.
Zinzi Sibanda is a 17-year-old young carer from Cardiff. Despite the daily challenges she faces, Zinzi has achieved academic success and is an award-winning writer and talented photographer.