Queen's Birthday Honours: Referee Nigel Owens gets MBE

Nigel Owens takes control at a scrum in the 2015 World Cup final Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Nigel Owens is respected on and off the pitch

Rugby referee Nigel Owens is among the Welsh people who have been recognised in the Queen's Birthday Honours list.

The 44-year-old, who takes charge of a record 71st test match on Saturday, has been awarded an MBE for services to sport.

He said he was "very humbled and honoured" and he "would never have a year like this again".

This year's Birthday Honours coincide with the Queen's official 90th birthday.

Owens, from Mynyddcerrig, Carmarthenshire, began officiating as a teenager and quickly progressed to be a professional referee.

He made his Rugby World Cup debut in France in 2007 and took charge of the 2015 Rugby World Cup final.

The same year he was awarded the title of World Rugby's referee of the year.

Off the pitch, he is patron of the Bullies Out charity in Wales.

Speaking to BBC Wales from Fiji, he said the MBE was a "real privilege."

Media playback is unsupported on your device
Media captionNigel Owens was awarded an MBE in the Queen's Birthday Honours List

Image copyright Helen Murray
Image caption Helen Murray has done all of her work with Ty Olwen on a voluntary basis

Making a difference

A volunteer who has dedicated her life to palliative care is among the other recipients.

Helen Murray from Dunvant, Swansea, has received an MBE.

She has been involved with Ty Olwen Hospice in Morriston Hospital for 40 years and chairs the Ty Olwen Trust.

"It's great to know the work I do with a fantastic team has made a difference to people," she said.

"I am now more determined to continue to drive palliative care forward so it is accessible for people who need it. I want people to know that a diagnosis is not the end.

"When someone comes up and thanks you - it makes it all worthwhile," she added.

Image copyright Christopher Williams
Image caption Christopher Williams founded the Saundersfoot New Year's Day Swim

'Over the moon'

Christopher Williams from Saundersfoot, Pembrokeshire, has been awarded a British Empire Medal for services to the Royal Mail and fundraising.

Nicknamed 'smiler', he is one of the longest serving employees at the Tenby delivery office and is a founder member of the Saundersfoot New Year's Day Swim, which has raised more than £500,000 for various charities since 1984.

"I am over the moon," he said.

"I've been with the Royal Mail for 21 years and deliver to my home village so I get to see friends and family all day long.

"I'm heavily involved in the swim and am one of only two people who hasn't missed a swim since it started.

"It really brings the community together, with a carnival atmosphere."

Image copyright National Botanic Garden of Wales
Image caption John Gwyndaf Ellis is the former Director of Education on Dyfed County Council

'Proud day'

The vice-chairman of the National Botanic Garden of Wales board of trustees, John Gwyndaf Ellis, has been awarded an OBE.

The 77-year-old, from Llanddarog, near Carmarthen, has been at the garden for more than 20 years and became a trustee in 1995 - four years before it opened.

"This is a very proud day for me. And a special one for the Botanic Garden, too.

"I very strongly believe that the garden is a product of devolution and the mark of mature nationhood and of a civilised society."

Image copyright Derek King
Image caption Lifeboat crew member Aileen Jones received the RNLI bronze medal for a heroic rescue which saved two lives.

'Completely unexpected'

Lifeboat crew member Aileen Jones from Porthcawl, Bridgend county, has been recognised for her years of bravery with an MBE.

She was the first female crew member to receive a gallantry award, one of the RNLI's first female helms and the first female crew member at Porthcawl Lifeboat Station.

As a volunteer, she has completely immersed herself in supporting every aspect of the station - one of the busiest in Wales - for the past 21 years.

"I had a letter from the Cabinet Office and thought 'oh no, what have I done?' When I saw what it was, it was a huge surprise.

"I wouldn't have got this award without the support of the crew over all the years."

The full Welsh list of the 2016 Queen's Birthday Honours:


  • Dr David Grant, CBE for services to engineering technology and skills in the UK.


  • Dr Peter Beck, Lord Lieutenant of South Glamorgan


  • James Brisbane for services to law and order
  • Peter Roger Davies for services to sustainable development in Wales
  • Prof Laura Jean McAllister for services to sport in Wales
  • Prof Peter McGuffin for services to biomedical research and psychiatric genetics
  • Timothy Moss for services to the economy and the community in Swansea
  • Lt Col Andrew Simon Tuggey for services to the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association and community in south east Wales


  • Clive Brooks for services to policing, particularly disaster victim identification
  • Leonie Catriona (Kate) Cassidy for services to communities in Wales
  • Margaret Hilary Dawson for services to education in Wales
  • John Gwyndaf Ellis for voluntary and charitable services in Wales and Lesotho
  • Dr Philip Antony Freedman for services to the scientific instrumentation industry and the economy in Wales
  • Dennis Gethin for services to Welsh rugby
  • Jonathan Glyn Mathias for public service and services to broadcasting in Wales
  • Prof Ruth Northway for services to learning disability nursing
  • Arwel Ellis Owen for services to social services and social care in Wales
  • Bernadette Elizabeth Ann Rijnenberg for services to probation


  • Julian Huw Baines for services to the life sciences industry
  • Sarah Frances Byford for voluntary services to grassland societies and rural communities
  • Prof Christopher Day for services to architecture and innovation
  • Jean Theresa Haine for humanitarian services in Madagascar
  • Jane Alison Hart for services to the improvement of cancer care in south east Wales
  • Dr Rhian Elizabeth Hayward for services to entrepreneurship in Wales
  • Prof Helen Louise Ann Houston for services to medical education and health services in south Wales
  • Kenneth Alan Jones for services to wrestling
  • Aileen Christine Jones for services to the RNLI
  • Sidney Frederick Hugh Kidwell for services to the community in Swansea
  • Frances Marion Lynch-Llewellyn for services to archaeology and heritage in Wales
  • Catrin Minshull for political service in Wales
  • Dr Susan Mary Mitchell for services to education in Wales
  • Helen Murray for voluntary services to palliative care in Swansea and Neath Port Talbot
  • Marcia Ody for services to higher education
  • Nigel Owens for services to sport
  • Margaret Pritchard for services to palliative care in Cardiff
  • Janie Wynne Smith for political and voluntary service in Denbighshire
  • Tania Strange for services to nursing care in south east Wales
  • Vin West for services to campaigning with disabled people in Wales


  • Caroline Ann Bovey for services to equality in the NHS in Wales
  • Beryl Enid Clegg for services to elderly people in Port Talbot
  • Hazel Maureen Davies for services to the Emlyn Flyers Swimming Club and the community in Newcastle Emlyn
  • Frederick Geoffrey Eckton for services to beekeeping in Wales
  • Kathleen Mary Evans for services to nursing in Bridgend
  • Pamela Mary Guy for services to music and for charitable services in Newport
  • Colin Hector for services to bereaved people in south east Wales
  • David Owen Jones for services to the community in rural west Wales
  • Ruth Drusilla Janette Lewis for voluntary service to first aid
  • David James Edmond MacKen for services to St Peters Church and the community in Swansea
  • Beti Mair Moyle for services to the NHS in Wales
  • Andrea Dawn Pridmore for services to public administration and community music through the Swansea Silver Rhythmaires marching band
  • John Derek Rowlands for voluntary and charitable services in Wales and abroad
  • Arthur Wybert Thomas for services to bell ringing and the community in Cowbridge
  • Christine Anne Wells-West for services to policing, particularly the NATO Summit 2014
  • Christopher Martyn Williams for services to Royal Mail and charitable fundraising in Saundersfoot
  • John Vaughan Williams for services to adults with learning disabilities in Denbighshire through the Denbigh Gateway Club
  • Penelope Ann Woodside for services to dietetics and the community in north Wales


  • Supt Stuart Ashley Parfitt, South Wales Police
  • Sgt Robert Taylor, North Wales Police.
  • Chf Supt Alun David Thomas, Gwent Police


  • Richard Lee, head of clinical services, Welsh Ambulance Services NHS Trust
  • Christopher Sims, head of operations (resilience and specialist operations), Welsh Ambulance Services NHS Trust

More on this story