North East Wales

New Year Honours: Denbighshire council leader Hugh Evans' OBE

Hugh Evans
Image caption Hugh Evans said the news came out of the blue

Four people from north east Wales have been named in the Queen's New Year's Honours List.

Denbighshire council leader Hugh Evans, from Ruthin, is awarded an OBE for services to local government.

Joyce Cook, from Carmel, Flintshire, gets an OBE for services to disability sports for her role as chair of Level Playing Field, the National Association of Disabled Supporters.

MBEs are awarded to Roy Jones, and Thomas Williams, both from Wrexham.

Roy Jones, from Llay, is a community liaison officer with Scottish Power and receives his award for services to young people in Wales.

Thomas Williams is a former chair of the Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board, and receives his award for services to healthcare in Wales.

Hugh Evans, who started his local government career eight years ago, and has been leader of Denbighshire council for four years, said: "I was really surprised to receive the award, but I'm very honoured.

"I didn't think it would happen to somebody like me, I have to say.

"It just came out of the blue."

Mr Evans took over leadership of the authority following a difficult period which saw its education services heavily criticised.

He said: "It was a big challenge, but an exciting challenge.

"It's something that has worked pretty well, and that's probably down to being able to work with all political parties in Denbighshire.

"Councillors from all parties have shown a commitment to improving services, and there's also an excellent working relationship between officers and councillors."

He added: "We haven't reached where we want to reach yet, but we're on the right track."