St David Awards: Finalists announced for Welsh honours

Warren Gatland and Leigh Halfpenny Image copyright PA and Getty
Image caption Wales rugby coach Warren Gatland and player Leigh Halfpenny are among those shortlisted

Wales and Lions rugby coach Warren Gatland has been shortlisted alongside star player Leigh Halfpenny in the first ever St David Awards.

The awards, to be presented in March, recognise the achievements of people in Wales from all walks of life.

Halfpenny and Gatland have been nominated for their contribution to Welsh sport while singer Cerys Matthews is shortlisted in the culture category.

A lollipop lady who was injured trying to save children also features.

Karin Williams, 50, was hailed a hero when a car lost control at Rhws Primary School, Rhoose, Vale of Glamorgan. She is nominated for bravery.

She stepped in front of the car with her lollipop sign to take the full impact, protecting five children.

She broke her legs, elbow, shoulder and ribs in the incident outside Rhws primary school, in Rhoose, in June 2013.

Candidates are nominated by the public and the finalists were announced on Thursday by First Minister Carwyn Jones.

They also include Antur Waunfawr, a social enterprise in Caernarfon, Gwynedd, nominated for the enterprise category for work to provide employment and training for people with learning difficulties.

Serai Hann, a Swansea mother who was a victim of doorstop lenders and established the Swansea Bay Fair Credit campaign, is also nominated.

The nominations for Gatland and Halfpenny come after Wales were crowned Six Nations champions last year and the Lions clinched their' first series victory since 1997 and the first triumph in Australia since 1989.

Mr Jones said: "I am told that picking finalists from the many worthy entrants received was no easy task, but the people who have been chosen exemplify the reason I established the awards.

"I wanted to be able to recognise the extraordinary achievements made by the people of Wales, people who I meet regularly during my visits across the country, people who go above and beyond to make a difference to life in Wales."

There is also a First Minister's Special Award, chosen by Mr Jones, for which people could not be nominated.

The finalists were chosen by an independent panel of judges and winners will be announced on 13 March.

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