South East Wales

New Year Honours: Musician Walford Hutchings's MBE

Walford Hutchings MBE
Image caption Walford Hutchings' musical career started as a boy soprano

A long-serving musician and conductor has been awarded an MBE in the New Year Honours.

Walford Hutchings, 78, from New Inn, Torfaen, has been a conductor for more than 40 years.

He has directed male choirs in Pontnewydd and Blaenavon, as well as the Pontypool Festival Choir.

Wales rugby star Martyn Williams (MBE) and entrepreneur Peter Thomas (CBE) were among those honoured in south east Wales.

Born into a musical family, Walford Hutchings was named after composer Sir Walford Davies.

His career in music began as a boy soprano, and he won more than 100 Eisteddfod prizes.

He later became head of music at Blackwood Comprehensive School.

In 1998 he conducted a choir of 1,000 voices at the Royal Albert Hall in London.

The grandfather-of-four, who is organist at St Mary's Church in New Inn and the conductor of Pontnewydd Male Voice Choir, said: "I am delighted to be given this honour.

"Music has formed a great part of my life since the age of six and I still get great pleasure from working with the choir."

Long-serving Wales international Martyn Williams, from Llantrisant, is awarded an MBE for services to rugby.

The open-side Cardiff Blues flanker, 36, has won 99 caps.

He had hoped to reach 100 international games, but broke his arm in September 2011, ruling him out of a possible call-up for the Rugby World Cup.

Businessman Peter Thomas, chairman of Cardiff Blues rugby team, gets a CBE for services to entrepreneurship, sport and charity in Wales.

Jonathan Jones, from Penarth, Vale of Glamorgan, who is director of tourism and marketing for the Welsh government, is awarded a CBE.

Andrew Marles, from Caldicot, Monmouthshire, is awarded a CBE for his role as chief fire officer with South Wales Fire and Rescue Service.

Neil Robinson, from Bridgend, coach of the Paralympics GB table tennis team, receives an MBE for services to disabled sport.

He said: "It makes me feel immensely proud. When we received the news I really got a real good warm glow, a real sense of pride that I'd been recognised for something that I have been involved in for so many years."

Mr Robinson was injured in a car accident when he was 18, and took up table tennis as part of his rehabilitation.

He played for 28 years, and in 2009 was offered a role as Paralympic GB table tennis coach.

"For me it's really fitting that this has happened in the London 2012 year," he said.

"This year's going to be so exciting. Our focus is really to get our guys prepared, to do as well as they possibly can and be as good as they can be in London."

Image caption Martyn Williams is awarded an MBE for services to rugby

Other recipients include Hayley Parsons, from Newport, founder and chief executive of, who receives an OBE for services to the economy.

Robert Parsons, from Cardiff, founder of Care for the Family, gets an OBE for services to family support.

Chris Howard, the head teacher of Lewis School Pengam, in Caerphilly county, and a former president of the National Association of Head Teachers, becomes an OBE.

Foster carers John and Patricia Bonthron, from Ynysddu, Caerphilly, both receive MBEs for services to children over nearly 30 years.

'Very lucky'

Mrs Bonthron, 71, who has run a nursing home and playgroup, said they found fostering rewarding and intended to continue for as many years as they were fit and able.

"When they go back home to their parents, it's rewarding to see them going back and coping with it all," she said.

"It's also very upsetting. We still get upset even when they are going for adoption. That's something you put up with really.

"When you are fostering, it helps with a good community around you.

"We have been very lucky. The community has been great and the local schools have been great."

Trevor Evans, from Chepstow, Monmouthshire, is awarded an MBE for services to conservation and wildlife while Graham Underdown, from Barry, Vale of Glamorgan, is awarded an MBE for services to charitable fundraising.

Eirwen Roberts, from Newport, receives an MBE for services to the community.

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