No shortage of inspiration in Wales

Jonathan Brooks-Jones reveals the finalists in the third annual Inspire Wales Awards

The Inspire Wales Awards, an IWA initiative in partnership with the Western Mail, reward the unsung heroes making a difference in Welsh civic life. They celebrate the achievements of men and women throughout Wales in the fields of business, education, science, arts and media, the environment and sport, as well as seeking champions in corporate social responsibility, citizenship and young achievers. This was the third year of the awards and this year’s achievers demonstrated yet again a remarkable set of contributions that are being made to Welsh civic life. In this profile, we reveal the finalists of each category (continued from page one, here).

Arts, Media and Creative Industries – Sponsored by Orchard

Owen Sheers

A writer across many platforms, Mr Sheers’ talents have been showcased in print, theatre and on the radio.

He was a writer for National Theatre Wales for The Passion last year, which saw Michael Sheen take to the streets of Port Talbot in a dramatic re-enactment of Jesus’ journey to the cross, and is currently the WRU’s artist in residence for 2012.

In August this year he will be one of the Welsh representatives at the 50th Edinburgh International Writers’ Conference, while along with Fflur Dafydd Mr Sheers will be a 2013 Hay Festival International Fellow.

Glynn Pegler

When he produced a glossy magazine aged only 15 and ended up licensing the intellectual property to News International, it was clear Mr Pegler had a huge future in the creative industry.

The CEO of Culture Group is also the co-founder of Young Brits, an organisation representing young people in business which saw him being responsible for the UK delegation to the G20 leaders summit.

He is also an adviser to both the UK and Welsh Governments with the title Business Champion for Wales. His creative campaigns have involved names from Bill Clinton to Victoria Beckham as well as engaging three British Prime Ministers and international sports stars and musicians along the way.

Citizens Voice – sponsored by the Waterloo Foundation

Keith Cass

A cancer diagnosis would stop many people in their tracks – but for grandfather Mr Cass it has been the source of strength to drive his Red Sock Campaign.

Since being told he has advanced and incurable metastatic prostate cancer, Mr Cass has set up his campaign and offers one-to-one counselling for anyone affected by prostate cancer. He also volunteers at a hospice, visits cancer patients and researches prostate and breast cancer.

More than 500 people have contacted Mr Cass for help through his website and he has raised in excess of £50,000 for prostate cancer research as well as raising awareness.

Jacquie Williams

Only three years after founding the Welsh Women Walking group, Ms Williams has already seen the venture raise more than £130,000 for charities.

She set up the group in June 2009 and organises monthly walks alongside the demands of running her own business.

Members of the group have climbed Mount Kilimanjaro and trekked to Everest base camp, with vast sums raised in aid of children’s hospice Ty Hafan, Breast Cancer Care Cymru and Marie Curie Hospice in Penarth.

Corporate Social Responsibility – Sponsored by The Church in Wales

RCT Homes

A drive to develop their workforce to add values in the communities in which they work has seen RCT Homes nominated.

Projects have included “give and gain” volunteering days which saw dozens of employees, tenants and contractors refurbish and repair community spaces and an action camp to provide vocational training to disadvantaged or excluded teenagers.

They also ran a 10-week family reading initiative targeted at families of children aged between 3 and 7 in low literacy areas and a tenancy advocacy project which saw staff volunteer to buddy up with tenants who may have been vulnerable.

Parker Plant Hire

Going the extra mile to support the local community in Carmarthenshire has seen this family-run business come in to the reckoning for this category.

The company has been involved in upwards of 20 initiatives, including designing, manufacturing and supplying specially adapted toilets to suit people with profound and multiple learning disabilities and donating football kits to children at an orphanage in Lesotho.

Other projects include sponsoring two Afghanistan appeal dinners to help wounded soldiers and the family of deceased soldiers as well as furnishing and locating a purpose-built classroom for a Sunday school facility at St Mary’s Church in Burry Port.

Young Achiever – sponsored by Wales & West Utilities

Charlotte Sweet

After vowing dyslexia would not hold her back, entrepreneurial Charlotte set up her own business hiring out reindeer when she was just 11.

After saving for several years she purchased her first reindeer at a cost of £1,375 in 2010, though she has had to overcome the deaths of three reindeer and another being stolen to get to where she is now.

Charlotte has recently been asked to be an ambassador for Cymru Dyslexia and is planning to buy another male and female reindeer in the next 18 months with the aim of having a 10-strong herd within five years.

Rhys Alyn Jones

After suffering viral encephalitis aged just two, Rhys was at first completely paralysed down the left side of his body.

But his courage and determination have seen him become a medal-winning disabled athlete, taking home four gold medals at the Junior Disability Event in 2009 – setting national records in the process.

Proud Welshman Rhys, who is a football leader at a disability football club in the Rhondda, is aiming to represent his country at the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow and win a medal at the Paralympic Games in Rio in 2016.

Ioan Rhys Evans

Aspiring Army officer Ioan is an inspirational and motivational leader, undertaking activities including peer-mentoring and being an anti-bullying mentor.

The adventure sports enthusiast is also an active member of the Army Cadet Force, with the rank of Two Star Lance Corporal, but also makes time to volunteer in a charity shop and has also raised more than £500 in aid of Help For Heroes by agreeing to do a tandem skydive.

Ioan began his teenager years as a shy young man lacking in self-confidence but now is a leader and inspiration for other youngsters.

Sport – Sponsored by Sport Wales

Carl Daniels

Inspired by this year’s Olympic and Paralympic Games coming to Britain, Mr Daniels came up with the Carmarthenshire Torch Relay which brought secondary school pupils from 18 schools – as well as students at a further education college – together.

The month-long relay, devised and delivered by active young people coordinator at Carmarthenshire County Council’s sport development unit Mr Daniels, saw the pupil-designed torch transported to all 19 educational establishments either on foot, via bicycle and even in a canoe.

More than 12,000 pupils had access to the torch and the event also had a strong following on social media.

Melissa Hyndman

New Zealander Ms Hyndman moved to Wales in February 2010  to become high performance netball head coach of a nation ranked 19th in the world.

Since taking up her post, the highly-motivated mother of seven has implemented a four-year performance strategy aimed at firing the Wales netball team in to the top five at the 2014 Commonwealth Games.

After re-selecting the national squad and changing the management structure, the side has gone on to win silver medals at Netabll Europe in 2010 and 2011, claim gold at the 2010 Six Nations Tour in Singapore and finish ninth at last year’s World Netball Championships.

Jonathan Brooks-Jones is sub-editor for

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