Congratulations to the Vale's Finest

Column in the Glamorgan Gem by Alun Cairns MP:

Happy New Year to everyone.

As the new year dawned, it was a delight to see that so many of the Vale’s finest have been recognised in the Queen’s New Year Honours. I pay tribute to the recipients in the Vale - George Evans BEM, Pat Finch BEM, Sharon Lovell MBE, Graham Colin Budd MBE, Christopher Brereton OBE and Andrew RT Davies CBE.

These demonstrate the best of voluntary and professional commitment to the community and to our country. 

I remember visiting George Evans at his table tennis club in Barry when I was first elected to Parliament, over 9 years ago. He has coached and mentored hundreds of young people in table tennis. The hall was electric with the tapping of balls on tables and bats. I remember thinking that George would be incredibly deserving of such an Honour for all he has done for the sport and our community. I am delighted that this has come to fruition.

It has also been a privilege to support Barry Beavers disabled swimming club and to see the leading role Pat Finch has played over many years. Pat has provided so many people who live with disabilities the confidence and opportunity to get involved in competitive swimming. Her role in raising funds, organising galas has made a difference to the lives of many. 

Although Russell Goodway is a Cardiff Councillor, he lives in Barry. He has played a major part in the redevelopment of the City, something that we all enjoy. A well deserved OBE for helping make Cardiff a leading European City. 

Sharon Lovell, an equal rights campaigner from Barry, has been recognised with an MBE for services to children and young people. Sharon serves as the National Executive Director of NYAS (National Youth Advocacy Service) and is a Vice Chairwoman for Amnesty International UK. The importance of her role should not be understated. 

Graham Budd, from Rhoose, received an MBE for his services to community policing in Cardiff as a Detective Constable in the South Wales Police force. I know former South Wales Police colleagues of Graham’s who have said that his award is long overdue and commented that he was one of the best officers they had worked with.

Christopher Brereton, Chief Environmental Health Officer in the Welsh Government, was awarded an OBE for services to environmental and public health in Wales. As I have seen during my time in office, civil servants play an incredibly important role in crafting government policy and I welcome the news that Christopher has been recognised for his contribution.

Finally, I am very pleased that my colleague Andrew RT Davies has received a CBE for the significant role that he has had in Welsh politics. He is one of our big characters and served as a strong Leader of the Official Opposition in the Assembly.  This is a senior honour that recognises his influence not only locally but across Wales and beyond. 

Following last month’s General Election, I would like to thank everyone in the Vale of Glamorgan for restating their confidence in the Conservative Party and in me to deliver on our country’s priorities. I am privileged and humbled to have gained the highest Conservative vote in Wales and for exceeding the previous record share of the vote that the late Sir Raymond Gower gained in 1983. 

If you voted for me, thank you and I will do all I can to live up to your hopes and expectations. If you did not, gaining your confidence will be my priority.

The Prime Minister recently stated: ‘you are the masters and we are the servants.’ Nothing could be more appropriate.

As we enter 2020, I feel a sense of renewed optimism for the Vale and for the country.

Over the last decade, we’ve benefitted from positive developments in the Vale, such investment by Aston Martin to establish a production plant in St Athan, regeneration in Barry and the extension of superfast broadband. I believe that we are in a great position to build on this and enjoy even more success in the decade ahead.

Across the country, the General Election resulted in an overwhelming win as people from different communities came together to endorse our plan to deliver on your priorities - like getting Brexit done, securing more investment for the NHS and putting more police officers on our streets. The South Wales force have already started the recruitment process and we will see more police on our streets in due course.

We are in a position to make a positive difference to people’s lives. It’s an opportunity we must grasp with both hands and I will be working tirelessly to ensure that communities in the Vale benefit from a forward-thinking and re-energised Conservative Government.

I look forward to working with you to achieve this over the next five years and if there are any matters that I can help you with, please be in touch.

I hope you all enjoy a happy, healthy and successful start to the new decade.