The Inspire Wales Awards are an initiative of the Institute of Welsh Affairs in association with the Western Mail.

To celebrate the achievements of the men and women throughout Wales who make a significant contribution to society, the Institute of Welsh Affairs has teamed up with the Western Mail for the Inspire Wales Awards. The awards reward those in the fields of business, education, science, arts and media, the environment and sport, as well as seeking champions in citizenship and young achievers. Entries are encouraged from the public, private and voluntary sectors. In this profile, we reveal the finalists in the Environmentalist category.

Elin Haf Davies
After 77 days and more than 900 hours at sea Elin landed in Antigua in February 2008 to become the first Welsh woman to row across the Atlantic. Having grown up on a Welsh HIll farm she was not the most likely candidate to embark on such a challenging mission. Yet during her adventure Elin successfully battled sea sickness, sleep deprivation, 40ft waves as well as extreme heat in cramped living conditions. A keen sportswoman Elin has also made a name for herself in rugby, winning 13 caps for the Wales A side. She has also six full and six half marathons, cycled from Paris to London and completed an Olympic distance triathlon. And she is by no means finished for she is currently in discussion with the World Health Organisation to lead a global project called 360 Swim Cycle Sail which will raise awareness and money for charity.

Lucy Powell
As community sports development officer for Newport City Council Lucy is charged with providing sporting opportunities for thousands of residents. The programmes she works on not only aim to encourage at risk children and young people to take part in sport but also aim to reduce crime. And given that one of her projects has seen anti-social behaviour drop by 48% she must be doing something right. Lucy set up the Friday Night Project which gets young people to attend a workshop in exchange for an hour of free sport. And many of the young people she has seen sign up to the project have since become community volunteers or even paid workers such was the impact of the programme. To assist her in the running of the project Lucy has also undertaken training to be able to deliver education about substance abuse.

Cat Lawford
Former fitness instructor of the year Cat has transformed the delivery of health and fitness programmes in Hay-on-Wye. The director of Gym and Tonic has created numerous initiatives which have persuaded much of the local community to take regular exercise. The most notable of which is a 10 week e-course which combines peoples’ 21st century lifestyle with traditional exercises. Sport has always played a major part of Cat’s life and in 2004 she also founded the Hay Hotfooters Running Club. She coached the club for four-and-half years until other commitments forced her to leave. Cat is constantly looking for new ways to develop herself and her business and to do so she has enrolled on a several courses. Among her favourite courses which she has attended Cat lists Advanced Bio-Typing, Bio-Mechanics and Integrated Performance.

Copy written by Sam Malone, Media Wales. Photos supplied courtesy of Media Wales.

Also within People and Places