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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  • Comment number 110.

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

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    Comment number 109.

    So what's worth more, an OBE or an SDA?

  • rate this
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    Comment number 108.

    Well done Wales.

    At least we shouldn't hear of celebrity cooks, soap stars, presenters, footballers and all other self-opinionated hangers-on getting the award. They are among the least-deserving when it comes to collecting gongs.

  • rate this
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    Comment number 107.

    103.Old Father Thames
    So this what the English do at work - explains a lot! ;-)

  • rate this
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    Comment number 106.

    i love the attitude of the moderater.if these comments were directed against muslims or black people they would be removed.obviously many english people find this acceptable. sad that this has been hijacked by sad little bigots.this might be old fashioned but try to judge someone on their personality not where they come from.

  • rate this
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    Comment number 105.

    What a shame they are proposing to name the awards after a man who spread credulous superstition during his life. Can't the Welsh find a better inclusive figure to name their awards after ?

  • rate this
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    Comment number 104.

    There are also too many awards for people NOT doing their jobs

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 103.

    Im leaving the office now.

    Its been enjoyable conversing with you Welsh types.

    You are a proud race, pretty good rugby players and you have some decent scenery. Also some good singers although I understand that tradition is fading now.

    So until we meet again,

    hwyl

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 102.

    The English will be fighting a race war in England before they ever get to fly their St George's cross. They lost their country years ago and all they have left is the language...although. they speak that widely in Malaysia, too.
    Meanwhile, Wales will be independent and proud.
    David and Goliath?...

  • rate this
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    Comment number 101.

    100.Old Father Thames

    Now that we can agree on!

  • Comment number 100.

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

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 99.

    Look, all joking aside, we're all just people. Nobody is a certain kind of person just because of their nationality. I think the Welsh/English thing is a tricky subject. Some Welsh people long ago went through unfair treatment at the hands of English authorities but to uphold the battle is the same as us abusing modern day Germans/Japanese etc. for their ancestors mistakes.

  • rate this
    +3

    Comment number 98.

    I feel sorry for the English sometimes. They enter other parts of the UK, outwith England, and feel they are treated badly, rudely or with contempt. Gladly, that isn't the case most of the time but sometimes they do solicit a certain negative response. Why is that? It's not as if they are rude themselves, or arrogant, or treat the rest of Britian as backward or stupid or cause a class war.....

  • rate this
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    Comment number 97.

    @95
    Maybe they didn't want to be overheard by anyone - plus don't tar the whole nation on 1 couple.

    When I was younger, I and a friend did an activity holiday with ~30 welsh speaking Welsh kids (very odd). Most of the time they'd talk to us English, and amongst themselves in Welsh. However, group conversation would often slip into Welsh leaving us stranded. Never felt intentionally snub though.

  • Comment number 96.

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

  • rate this
    -3

    Comment number 95.

    @92.annieavatar

    Is that why just 19% of the population in Wales actually speak the language.

    Here's a true storey, as an Englishman visiting Cardiff, I went into a busy pub with my wife and asked if I could sit at a table with a welsh couple who I heard talking to each other in english.

    As soon as we sat at the table, they switched over to welsh.

    So warm and friendly...the Welsh.

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 94.

    @91
    Absolutely! I don't live in Wales these days, but when I did I never indulged in this anti-English stuff - despite the fact that I'm a Nationalist. I do know people who did and still do but mostly we treated these with the contempt they deserve. All of the groups I was ever in switched to English and welcomed all - friendly - strangers. Mostly, we cofis are very civilized - at home or away..

  • rate this
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    Comment number 93.

    i have got out of bed the wrong side three times this week. will I qualify.

  • rate this
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    Comment number 92.

    No we don't hate the English, but there seems to be a difference of understanding between us. The Welsh are generally very proud of their country and it's a right to speak Welsh, if we choose, in Wales. Like it's a right in England to speak English.
    Yes we need our own honour system, not tainted by political aims. When I was a kid we had 1/2 day off school to celebrate St David's day.

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 91.

    90.Cofi in Exile

    Well strangely enough I've walked into pubs in West Wales where they're speaking Welsh. I'm South Welsh and don't speak fluently but I've never got the impression that they don't want to speak to me in English!

 

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