Wales

New Year Honours: Geraint Thomas receives an OBE

Geraint Thomas hold Welsh flag on Tour de France winner's podium Image copyright AFP
Image caption Geraint Thomas was crowned the Tour de France winner in Paris earlier this year

Tour de France winner Geraint Thomas has been named in the Queen's New Year Honours list.

Cardiff-born Thomas receives an OBE for services to cycling, while triathlete Helen Jenkins gets an MBE.

Halen Môn founders Alison and David Lea-Wilson and The Alarm's Mike Peters also receive MBEs.

And there is also a focus on community stalwarts, with a long-serving councillor, nurses, a refugee charity boss and RNLI volunteers recognised.

For two-time Olympic gold medallist Thomas, 32, who was given an MBE in 2009, it caps a remarkable year.

After the Team Sky rider became only the third Briton to win the 23-day road race, he was named both BBC Cymru Wales and BBC Sports Personality of the Year.

"There were few sporting performances this year that captivated the country more than Geraint Thomas' epic pursuit over the mountain stages of the Pyrenees and the Alps," said Secretary of State for Wales, Alun Cairns.

He described Thomas as "a brilliant ambassador" for the sport and "an inspirational role model".

Bridgend-raised Jenkins is recognised for her role in a similarly-demanding sport, crowned triathlon's world champion in 2008 and 2011.

Author Philip Pullman receives a knighthood, and credited his time living in Gwynedd as playing a key role in the development of his writing.

Image copyright PA
Image caption Philip Pullman has been recognised in the New Year Honours for his services to literature

Mr Pullman, who wrote His Dark Materials, lived there between the ages of 11 and 20, and said: "It's during my time in Llanbedr and Harlech where all these intellectual discoveries happened to me. Music and poetry.

"The landscape of that part of the country still resonates with me with the words of the poems I was beginning to know and love.

"It was an immensely important time in my life and I'm very grateful for the education I had."

He added: "I can't imagine what my life would have been like without that experience."

Image caption Mike Peters said it was "humbling" to be nominated for the award

NHS Wales' chief executive Dr Andrew Goodall receives a CBE for his services to health, social care and public service.

Two members of the South and Mid Wales Cave Rescue team have been awarded the George Medal - the second highest civilian gallantry award.

John Volanthen and Richard Stanton were two of the expert divers who helped save the Thai football team, the Wild Boars, trapped in a cave earlier this year.

"The most important thing was returning the Wild Boars to their families," said Mr Volanthen.

Mike Peters, frontman of rock band The Alarm, receives an MBE for voluntary services to cancer care in north Wales and abroad.

He formed a charity to encourage music fans to sign up as bone marrow donors but said he was "shocked" to receive the news.

"Our family has been struck twice with cancer - myself three times and Jules my wife," he added.

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Media captionJohn Volanthen has been awarded the George Medal

"And our message to other people out there (going through it) is never give in; never ever give up."

Velindre Cancer Centre's Prof Thomas Crosby is awarded an OBE for services to cancer services, while former nurse Reynette Roberts gets an MBE for services to the community.

She is director of Oasis in Cardiff which helps refugees and asylum seekers and said her aim is for people to see them as humans like anyone else.

Ms Roberts said she was "stunned", adding: "It was something I never expected to get."

Nurse Jennifer Ladd receives a British Empire Medal (BEM) after 24 years at Cardigan Hospital, 12 of those spent in the minor injury unit.

"I thought it was a scam when I got the letter," she said.

"I am very proud and honoured, although I must say I'm accepting the award on behalf of my colleagues and the girls that are left running the department.

"Although I've retired, I've left the unit in very good hands."

Image copyright Royal National Lifeboat Institute
Image caption David 'Graham' Drinkwater has served at Holyhead Lifeboat station for more than 50 years

Another nurse, Melanie Davies is recognised with an MBE for her services to patients with learning disabilities at Morriston Hospital, Swansea.

She said she was "very grateful and humbled" to have been nominated.

The BEM was also given to former councillor Leon Gardiner for services to the community in Caerphilly county.

He stood down in 2017 after 45 years service to the Argoed, Cefn Fforest, and Blackwood wards.

Two RNLI volunteers have also been given MBEs for their years of helping to save lives at sea.

Graham Drinkwater from Holyhead and Robert Harris from Port Talbot have been involved in hundreds of missions.

Image copyright RNLI
Image caption "I'm extremely proud of him," said Paul Rowlands of his son, Joe, after the incident while kayaking

"The RNLI depends on the tremendous courage, commitment and skill of its volunteers, staff and fundraisers," said chief executive Paul Boissier.

"And those that have been named in this year's New Year Honours truly exemplify those qualities."

A Queen's Commendation for Bravery was given to schoolboy Joe Rowlands, who helped save his father when they got into trouble while kayaking off Anglesey.

In February, the then 13-year-old helped get dad Paul out of the water and keep him conscious until they were rescued.

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