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Awards

Young heroism, talent and courage celebrated at the first ever Child of Wales Awards

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The inaugural Child of Wales Awards, in partnership with Bluestone National Park Resorts, took place at Mercure Holland House, Cardiff on Friday 4th March.

A Star-studded uplifting celebration of the heroism, talent and courage of Wales’s young people. The event, which was postponed three times due to Covid, was attended by many famous faces, and was hosted by TV presenter Gethin Jones.

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The ceremony was brimming with emotions as the audience listened to the incredible stories of the extraordinary feats the winners had achieved.

The winners included young fundraisers Emily and Holly Walker who has raised over £170k in memory of their brother Tom who sadly passed away due to Acute Myeloid Leukaemia. Debbie Walker (mum) said “the evening allowed us to celebrate not just Emily and Holly, but Tom too and his legacy, it was an unforgettable and inspirational evening”

Another 12 young people were recognised from those who Champion causes in their communities to a young sporting hero Lily Rice who is the first person in Europe to do a back flip in a wheelchair.

Catherine Zeta Jones sent a video message and Swansea City First Team Manager Russell Martin presented fan Child of Courage McKenzie John with a SCFC shirt.

Child of Courage U13 winner McKenzie John with Donnalee Alford from sponsors 1192 and Gethin Jones with Swansea City manager Russell Martin (Image: Steve Phillips)

Russell Martin, First Team Manager, Swansea City Football Club, said: “The evening was a truly humbling experience. As a parent myself, to see what some of the children had been through – and continue to go through – shows the huge courage and strength they have, and each and every one of them can be proud.

“They are a credit to their families and a credit to Wales. It was brilliant for us as a football club to be part of such a fantastic night.”

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Strictly Star Ian Waite was a guest, and winner Ffion Gwyther who kept her community entertained during lockdown donning fun fancy dress such as a nun, Carmen Miranda and Cruella Devil, enjoyed a dance at the end of the evening with him.

A video message to Ffion from Michael Sheen was also played.

The Child of Wales Choir of 50 youngsters from Mark Jermin Stage School opened the awards and were pleased to sing live after not being in front of an audience for over 2 years due to Covid.

Guests were also treated to performances from Eva Ossei-Gerning a semi-finalist on The Voice Kids UK, and Claire Jones and Chris Marshall – Deuos who performed with the winner of The Young Performer’s award, Cerys Angharad – a dedicated harpist.

Cerys was bullied at school for her love of music which resulted in her having to move schools. “Who’s Molly?” a Welsh indie band ended the night with guests dancing to midnight.

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The winners of the awards are:

Mark Jermin – Lockdown Teacher of the Year
Ffion Gwyther – Who Cares Wins Award
Cerys Angharad – Young Performer
Sophie Mansell – Environmental Champion
Casey-Jane Bishop – Bravery Award
McKenzie John – Child of Courage (under 13)
Abi Phillips – Child of Courage (over 13)
The Roberts Family – Courageous Family
Lily Rice – Young Sporting Hero
Lewis Craven and Flourish, Summer of Picnics– Community Champion
Andrea Tatarova – Exceptional Young Carer
Emma Lewis, The Roots Foundation Wales – Outstanding Charity
Bethan Owen – Young Leader
Holly and Emily Walker – Young Fundraiser

£50,000 was also raised on the night for charities Dreams and Wishes, Teenage Cancer Trust, NSPCC and Bluestone Wales who donated their funds to the Red Cross for the Ukraine Disaster.

Blanche Sainsbury, Founder of the awards, said: “I never imagined just how much this idea would take off and be supported by businesses and the public, we were overwhelmed by the nominations. My thanks to all our sponsors who supported us, an evening dedicated to the triumphs and successes of young people across Wales is just what is needed”

Adam Price Leader of Plaid Cymru also attended the event, and messages of support were sent by other politicians and royal patronage.

Rugby Legend Jonathan Davies OBE, Sir Gareth Edwards OBE, James Hook and Tom Shanklin also attended the evening.

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BBC presenter Jason Mohammed and Olympians Jamie Baluch and Sharron Davies MBE, and her son Finley, enjoyed the evening.

Amy Anzel a contestant on this year’s TV show The Apprentice presented an award as did actress Melanie Walters from Gavin and Stacey.

Lead image: L-R (Ian Waite, James Hook, Gethin Jones, Tom Shanklin, Paul James from Redkite Law LLP, Jonathan Davies OBE, with Child of Courage 13+ winner, Abi Phillips) (Image: Steve Phillips)

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Awards

Swansea handyman is finalist in UK-wide local hero awards competition

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Swansea handyman, Ash Heynes has made it to the final 7 names that could pick up SGS Engineering’s Local Hero Awards 2022.

Voting opens today, allowing the public to choose their winner.

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There’s £1000 up for grabs for the tradesman who picks up the trophy, as well as £250 for four regional finalists.

The ‘local hero’ competition being run by UK manufacturer and retailer SGS Engineering, who are looking to reward tradespeople who go above and beyond for their local community.

Last year, hero builder Graham Nash of  Pinnacle Builders in Leeds was crowned the winner in the inaugural awards, when he won the public poll (with 39% of the 2,000+ votes), thanks to his incredible hard work correcting the errors made by cowboy builders whilst working at the homes of ordinary people. Going above and beyond, Mr Nash even made the corrections completely free of charge.  

The public vote for this year’s edition has now opened, enabling friends and family, as well as the wider community, a chance to rally behind their local finalist in the hope of securing them a grand prize of £1,000, alongside the honour of being named the nation’s ‘Local Hero 2022’.  

An additional four regional finalists will take home a £250 runners-up cash prize.  

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Voting closes at 11:30pm on Monday the 2nd May, and the winner and runners up that secure the most votes will be unveiled on Thursday the 4th May. 

The Finalists are (in alphabetical order)… 

Ash Haynes – Bruno’s Eco Services (Swansea, Wales) 

Ash responded to the cost-of-living crisis and the isolation brought on by the pandemic by offering to do gardening, cleaning and landscaping work for free for those in need. Ash also kindly offered up the time to talk to anyone who needed some company. 

Band of Builders – (Wisbech, England) 

A volunteer group made up of trade professionals, Band of Builders raised thousands of pounds to help people living within their local community and beyond. In the past year they have clubbed together to complete free-of-charge building work for those in need across the country. 

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Darren McGhee – DMG Services Group (Bellshill, Scotland) 

DMG services, a roofing company, went above and beyond when they offered free repairs for elderly people, and have also offered apprenticeships for unemployed people in the local area. 

James Anderson – Depher (Burnley, England) 

A kind-hearted plumber, James has responded to the energy price crisis by continuing his fantastic work with Depher, standing for Disability and Elderly Plumbing and Heating Emergency Repair. 

Depher has completed vital plumbing work for elderly and unwell people who were desperately in need. 

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Naima Ben-Moussa – Lady in Red Plastering (Buxton, England) 

Naima is a female plasterer who has thrived in a traditionally male dominated industry, making the headlines by fixing walls destroyed by domestic abusers for free. More recently, she has even set up her own charity to help domestic abuse survivors. 

One Transformations Group (Pontypool, Wales) 

Volunteers from the company teamed up with other local businesses to create a wonderful garden for a local blind woman after a rogue builder had left it in a sorry state.  

Steve Parker – Parkers Plumbing and Bathroom Installations (Northampton, England) 

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Steve is a plumber who kindly offered to fix the boilers of elderly people aged 65 and over that live near his local village of Irchester during the winter. 

Dave Gordon, General Manager at SGS Engineering explained:  “The Local Hero Awards 2021 brought some heart-warming stories in to the spotlight during what was a very difficult time for people up and down the country, including those who took elderly customers for a fish supper, and of course our winner Graham Nash, who bravely tackled the shoddy work of cowboy builders. 

“Looking through the finalists for this year, it is fantastic to see a new crop of tradespeople working wonders for the people in their local area and demonstrating acts of true kindness. 

“It is now in the UK’s hands to determine who wins this fantastic cash prize. We’re also very happy to be able to share that that some of the regional finalists will each receive £250 in cash too – it’s our way of saying thank you on behalf of those they’ve helped.” 

You can vote online at SGS Engineering’s website.

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(Lead image: Ash Heynes)

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Awards

University team who developed COVID respiratory support system win St David Award

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A team of engineers from the University of Wales Trinity Saint David (UWTSD) who developed a 3D-printed jet respiratory support system to help the NHS in the fight against Covid 19 have received the 2022 Innovation, Science and Technology Award at the prestigious St David Awards in Cardiff.

The awards recognise the extraordinary achievements of people from across Wales.

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Presenting the awards, First Minster Mark Drakeford said it had been an inspiring and moving evening and humbling to hear the stories. He added that the finalists were all truly inspirational and a credit to Wales.

Graham Howe, Executive Head of Made Cymru said: “We just did what many engineers were doing around the country and across the globe at the time, using our engineering skills as creative problem solvers to try to help solve our biggest challenges.

“Just really glad that news about our work got picked up in places like Nepal, and was able to be used to help people in the most challenging of circumstances.”

It was back in May 2020, that UWTSD’s Luca Pagano, Graham Howe, Professor Peter Charlton, John Hughes, and Richard Morgan decided to focus their expertise on the development of a highly efficient 3D printed jet Venturi based respiratory support system to help the NHS during the initial COVID-19 outbreak.

The main objective was to develop a device that could be manufactured cheaply, rapidly and, at the same time, be user friendly whilst maintaining high performance levels. The device was optimised to be able to perform CPAP functionalities such as maintaining PEEP pressures in scenarios such as overwhelmed hospitals where oxygen supply was limited.

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UWTSD’s Luca Pagano, Senior Research Project Engineer at Made Cymru said: “We found that standard CPAP devices are extremely inefficient, our device instead could function utilising a third of the oxygen. It’s also very uncommon for Venturi devices to be able to confidently maintain positive pressure within the patient’s airways while delivering correct gas mixtures. This was achieved through numerous iterative steps between modelling and testing.”

A Lead Bio–Medical Engineer in Nepal who had read the news about the Venturi asked if the team could share their 3D files for printing in his hospital in Pokhara where the COVID-19 situation was worsening by the minute.

The team responded rapidly setting a license agreement and subsequently transferred all the documentation/technical files and supported the Nepalese engineers with any queries. The device was successfully manufactured with low-end desktop 3d printers and adopted to save lives.

A group of engineers at University of Wales Trinity Saint David (UWTSD) have been involved in the rapid development of a highly efficient 3D printed jet Venturi based respiratory support system.

The team’s 3D printed jet Venturi based respiratory support system (Image: UWTSD)

Graham Howe added: “Dr Steven Fielding brought the initial problem to my attention 10 years ago before I joined the University. He and I worked on the idea, along with David Williams from UWTSD’s School of Manufacturing & Logistics, who was studying for an MSc Lean & Agile part-time.

“We picked it back up in Covid times as we realised it had the potential to really help, especially in the context of scarce oxygen supplies. But there were still significant issues to resolve in terms of the physics of it and so it could be additively manufacturing around the globe in places like Nepal.

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“To be shortlisted and then win a St David Award is such an exciting accolade and proud moment for the team and clearly demonstrates how the R&D work at UWTSD can address critical global challenges.”

Barry Liles, OBE, Pro Vice-Chancellor (Skills and Lifelong Learning) at UWTSD said: “The University is pleased to see this team being recognised for their collaborative, innovative efforts undertaken at the height of the pandemic. Whilst striving to maintain their day-to-day workload, with all the restrictions that Covid placed them under, they worked above and beyond to rapidly find a solution which has yielded significant benefit. Their passion and enthusiasm shone through as they drove to secure a positive outcome.”

(Lead image: UWTSD)

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Awards

Swansea Bay nurse declared a real star by her peers

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Colleagues of a Swansea Bay nurse think she is ‘exceptional’ and a nationwide nursing charity agrees.

As a result, Helen Eynon, Ward 6 manager at Singleton Hospital, has been awarded a Cavell Star, given to nurses, midwives, nursing associates and healthcare assistants who shine bright and show exceptional care to their colleagues, patients, or patients’ families.

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The awards – run by Cavell Nurses’ Trust – are the result of a nomination by colleagues that is supported by the charity’s panel of judges.

Helen is credited with showing ‘exceptional’ leadership and lifting the morale of her team during the height of the pandemic.

Lisa Graham, Deputy Head of Nursing, Neath Port Talbot and Singleton Hospitals, put Helen’s name forward.

She said: “I nominated Helen for the Cavell Star award because she is one of those individuals who goes above and beyond, even when things are really difficult.

“She’s gone through so many challenges, both from a personal and work perspective, but she continues to shine. For example, she set up our Christmas Mr X Appeal, got everyone involved and we collected lots of toys for underprivileged children. She didn’t have to do it but she did it.

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“And she’s also raised money for Macmillan Cancer.”

But it is the difference she has made on her ward that is most impressive.

“She’s worked very hard to improve patient care on her ward – the feedback from patients and staff has improved significantly over the past nine months since Helen has been in a permanent position on Ward 6,” Lisa said.

“There’s cladding work going on in Singleton at the moment, which means her ward is split between two different wards, but she is still managing to keep the team together.

“She is an exceptional nurse, an exceptional leader and she has gone above and beyond in every shape and form you could ask for. And more. She is amazing.”

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Lisa added that she was not aware of anyone else in Swansea Bay having been presented with such an award.

Helen with her award (Image: Swansea Bay NHS)

Helen said: “I felt totally overwhelmed and humbled to be nominated for a Cavell Trust award.

“My team and I have improved standards and ensured patients have a positive experience while being in hospital.

“When I took over on ward 6 the team were at a low due to the pandemic. I ensured they shared my vision for improving standards and ensuring that patients received high quality nursing care.

“Improving staff morale was also very important. I set out with my team to improve morale through a few fundraising events – we arranged a cake stall for breast cancer and Mr X appeal which gave underprivileged children a gift at Christmas.

“This bought everyone together. It was lovely to see them enjoying being part of a team again and also helping others.”

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Helen Sandry, a member of Helen’s team, said: “Since I’ve been on the ward Helen has been an excellent mentor and has given huge support. She thoroughly deserves this award, she works across two areas, and I don’t know how she does it.”

(Lead image: Swansea Bay NHS)

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