St David Awards: Welsh honours system announced

Dame Shirley Bassey Shirley Bassey was made a dame in the New Year Honours in 2000

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A Welsh honours system recognising "ordinary people who do extraordinary things" has been announced during a debate in the Senedd.

The first recipients could be presented with the St David Awards next year, but it is unclear how much it will cost to introduce or what shape it will take.

The debate also looked at the possibility of making St David's Day a bank holiday.

The Conservatives said the award needed to be independent of government.

Meanwhile, the TaxPayers' Alliance questioned the introduction of a new honour at a time when public bodies were making cuts.

Start Quote

I have often felt humbled by the extraordinary stories of individuals who work tirelessly, without publicity or self-interest, for the benefit of others and who genuinely make Wales a better place”

End Quote Carwyn Jones First Minister

Welsh people from all walks of life are already recognised along with others throughout the UK and Commonwealth in the annual New Year and Queen's Birthday Honours lists.

First Minister Carwyn Jones announced the new award in the Senedd after a Welsh Conservative motion called for a new Welsh honours system and for St David's Day to be made a bank holiday.

The Conservatives, Plaid Cymru and the Welsh Liberal Democrats made a commitment to a bank holiday on 1 March in their 2011 election manifestos, while the Conservatives have proposed a Welsh "Order of St David's" for some years.

Outlining the Welsh government's proposals to launch a new awards system, Mr Jones said: "I have often felt humbled by the extraordinary stories of individuals who work tirelessly, without publicity or self-interest, for the benefit of others and who genuinely make Wales a better place.

"I can today announce that from 2014 I will be launching the St David Awards. These awards will present opportunity for nominations from a broad range of walks of life to be recognised.

"Work is currently being carried out by my officials to identify the appropriate sectors for recognition and the deliberation process for making the awards.

"A starting point will be ordinary people who do extraordinary things."

'Powerful contribution'

Start Quote

A system which reflects and demonstrates honour bestowed by the Welsh nation needs to be independent of government”

End Quote Suzy Davies Conservative shadow heritage minister

He said the award would recognise people who did more than they needed to, and those who made a difference to the quality of life in Wales.

"I want to see a strong business component in the awards - the private sector is the lifeblood of our economy and I want to see that dimension properly recognised," he added.

"I would also like to see recognition for individuals who contribute to raising Wales' profile in the world - this, too, makes a powerful contribution to both our social and economic well-being."

Conservative Suzy Davies, the shadow heritage minister, said the St David Awards were in danger of being seen as government awards and they needed to be independent.

"A system which reflects and demonstrates honour bestowed by the Welsh nation needs to be independent of government and consensus around this is clearly emerging," she said.

Matthew Sinclair, chief executive of the TaxPayers' Alliance, said it was good to recognise achievement, but the cost of new awards and of the committees put together to select recipients, must be kept to a minimum.

"Public bodies are making necessary spending cuts, so many taxpayers will question the timing of announcing new initiatives that could cost even more money when savings have to be made," he added.


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  • rate this

    Comment number 30.

    Don't have a problem with a Welsh Honour - as long as it's single tier. I think I'd prefer it not be associated with religion in any shape or form. Similarly, a Welsh public holiday would be a good idea - again not associated with religion.

    Re an English Assembly - I agree they should have one - in fact let's go the whole hog and give them an indpendent parliament!

  • rate this

    Comment number 29.

    Guys i think someone went mad with the negative votes.

  • rate this

    Comment number 28.

    Fair enough, if it gives people more pride in their country its a good thing.
    As long as it does go to "real people" doing good things.

  • rate this

    Comment number 27.

    I am always impressed by the modesty of surviving Victoria Cross recipients.

    It is a complete contrast to the gushing of Oscar winners.

    Acting well in something that will be on DVD in a year, and in a bargain bin in two strikes me as less of an achievement that saving another Soldiers life, bomb disposal or engaging a superior enemy force.

  • rate this

    Comment number 26.

    Personally think this is a wonderful idea.
    Don't see any reason for an english vs welsh war in the comments though.

  • rate this

    Comment number 25.

    23.Shoogly Peg
    16.U14387418 started it by say the English should go back to germany . I was just pointing out that the celts originate from the Black sea area

    Why should they have the right of devolution when there were no marches for it of any size. Its because the labour party thought they could control both of them . labour only offered the break up of England , which is why they lost it.

  • rate this

    Comment number 24.

    Considering some of the really daft things public money is being spent on (HS2, MPs pay-rises etc) I think this is definately the least-daft. I'm not Welsh, but I think this is a great idea recognising the people.

    I know the Queen has her birthday honours list, but something fresh in this current climate wouldn't go amiss

  • rate this

    Comment number 23.


    And the English should go back to Germany where you belong.

  • rate this

    Comment number 22.


    its about time the English become as nationalistic as the welsh and scottish and irish. I personally become more nationalistic since devolution. Before which i considered myself British. Not any more.

    Its welsh this , scots this , irish this . Fed up with minority demands.
    All will happen is English nationalism.

    'They that sow the wind, shall reap the whirlwind'

  • rate this

    Comment number 21.

    I like holidaying in Wales although the reception in the local pubs is sometimes not friendly.

    Strange how they sense you are English before you even open your mouth. If looks could kill......

  • rate this

    Comment number 20.

    St David's Day Holiday - good idea (and St Andrew's day in Scotland, St george's Day in England etc)
    We don't need a Welsh honours system - we already have one - the people who are awarded membership of the Gorsedd for services to Wales and welsh culture. Independent of government and uniquely Welsh.

  • Comment number 19.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • rate this

    Comment number 18.

    And the celts should go back to the black sea where they belong

    English have as much right to devolution. but since England is not socialist we arent allowed it. SO IM ENGLISH Not British.

    Personally from experience , I find the welsh arrogant and rude and i would not be disapponted if the french owned bridges across the severn disappeared.

  • rate this

    Comment number 17.

    For real people, and then he wants a 'business component'. So much for real people. Why are businesses bushinesses? To make money and employment is only a means of making money. No problem there but hardly a reason for a business component.

  • rate this

    Comment number 16.

    If the English don't like it here in Britain anymore - they constantly moan about the Welsh, Scottish and the recent immigrants, who happen to like ti here - they can go back to Germany and wherever else they came from.

  • rate this

    Comment number 15.

    @4. Lemog

    Second class citizens?? lol You crack me up mate.

    The good thing about this referendum compared to the one in the 70s is that now we can all read exactly what the ordinary englishman really thinks about the people they are supposed to be in union with. Roll on 2014!

  • rate this

    Comment number 14.

    What a load of drivel.
    A mickey mouse award from a mickey mouse "area" that has the worst health service and the worst education record in Britain.
    They ought to apply themselves to something a little more important than dreaming up this garbage.

  • rate this

    Comment number 13.

    Politicians tend to think moves like this make them popular.
    They don't, the voters would rather have better schools etc.

  • rate this

    Comment number 12.

    Incredible! Is there a topic the English won't moan about? Constantly accusing the other parts of the UK of wasting "THEIR" money. Anyone would think no English people lived elsewhere in the UK!

  • rate this

    Comment number 11.

    For the whinging English here: You stole Wales, you stole Scotland and you stole Northern Ireland. You stole Eire too but they told you to beat it. You then forced your own pomp, ceremony and reward systems on us all but with an English skewed point of view.

    If you want devolution, then create and vote for an English National Party. Then you will know your place in the world...


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