New Year Honours: Loren Dykes appointed MBE for growing women's game

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Loren Dykes
Image caption,
Loren Dykes is just the second player in Welsh football history to reach 100 international caps

One of Wales' most successful female footballers is among those recognised in the Queen's New Year Honours.

Loren Dykes, from Pontardawe, who has won more than 100 caps for her country, has been appointed MBE for services to women's football in Wales.

Welsh Secretary Simon Hart said Dykes had been "central" to the growth of the women's game.

A 90-year-old woman from Pembrokeshire has also been recognised for her work helping people with cystic fibrosis.

Dykes, 31, won her first senior cap against the Netherlands in 2007 and played in every match of Wales' 2019 FIFA Women's World Cup qualifying campaign.

At club level, she has played for Pontardawe Town, Llanelli Reds, UWIC, Cardiff City Ladies and Bristol City Women.

But arguably Dykes' most influential role has been inspiring girls and young women to play football, in her roles as coach to Wales' U15 girls and ambassador for Street Wales.

"Women's football is experiencing unprecedented growth in popularity in Wales and around the world," Mr Hart said.

"Loren has been central to securing that growth by coaching the stars of the future and demonstrating to women and girls the global heights it is possible to reach within the sport."

Meanwhile, Sybil Edwards, who founded Wales' oldest Cystic Fibrosis Trust branch in Pembroke in 1978 - which has raised more than £140,000 - has also been honoured.

Image source, Family photo
Image caption,
Sybil Edwards, pictured with her son Chris, beat cancer at the age of 87

Ms Edwards, 90, who receives a British Empire Medal, said she first became involved with cystic fibrosis when she was a journalist on the Western Telegraph in 1979.

"I interviewed the mother of a young boy living with it, and I was struck by their determination not just to survive but to get the most out of life," said Ms Edwards, who beat cancer at the age of 87.

"Fortunately, I was able to help out back then with some publicity, and I suppose I just never stopped."

Tom Bedford, who was mentored by Ms Edwards while he was a trainee reporter at the Telegraph, said she was a "formidable" campaigner and the recognition of her work was "fully deserved".

Also in south west Wales, a Carmarthenshire man has been made MBE for services to people with learning disabilities.

Image source, Nigel Miller
Image caption,
Nigel Miller says he is "slightly overwhelmed" to find out he has been recognised

Nigel Miller, 54, from Kidwelly, is head of therapies in the learning disabilities service at Hywel Dda health board.

Mr Miller supports people with learning disabilities to be able to contribute to society.

"I am slightly overwhelmed at being singled out for this honour," he said.

"There is no doubt that I would not have got it if I hadn't had the opportunity of working with some amazing people who happen to have been labelled with the term 'learning disability', outstanding and talented colleagues, forward-thinking organisations and a truly supportive family."

Other recipients in the area include:

  • Andrew Falvey, of the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency, is appointed OBE for services to transport
  • Angela Hughes, the chief executive of the Wales Air Ambulance, is appointed OBE for services to emergency air service in Wales
  • Susan Croall, 83, from Swansea, receives a British Empire Medal for services to music

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