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Last Updated: Wednesday, 31 December, 2003, 00:34 GMT
Book king heads Welsh honours
Left to right: Owain Arwel Hughes, Iris Williams and Richard Booth
A conductor, a singer and a book seller, as well as many others who have contributed to life in Wales, have been rewarded in the New Year Honours list.

Richard Booth, whose shop in Hay-on-Wye is the largest second-hand bookshop in Europe, has been appointed an MBE for his services to tourism in Powys.

The self-styled King of Hay has been credited with the revival of the town's Literary Festival which attracts hundreds of thousands to the small borders town each May.

Also among the awards are OBEs for Owain Arwel Hughes, the driving force behind the success of the Welsh Proms, and singer Iris Williams, for her services to music and charitable causes.

They head nearly 70 people from across Wales who are recognised for their role in public life.

But there has been disappointment in the Welsh sporting world, with no sportsmen or women being honoured.

Eccentric

In the past Mr Booth has been described as an eccentric but determined entrepreneur who persevered in his quest to create a book town.

He even resorted to such stunts as his 1977 declaration of independence for Hay-on-Wye.

Mr Booth proclaimed himself king - his horse was made prime minister.

"This is a tremendous honour, especially because I've taken a radical position in the past," he said.

"Hay... attracts people from all around the world to Powys," he added.

Iris Williams was one of the voices that stood out in the emerging Welsh pop scene of the late 60s and early 70s.

She went from a children's home in Tonyrefail in the south Wales Valleys to singing regularly in front of former US president, Gerald Ford, and a host of other American celebrities.

She said: "I'm thrilled for Wales, I feel that I should share it with Wales because Wales is responsible.

"I've had so much support from Wales. It's a dual thing."

Artistic director Owain Arwel Hughes, has been one of the driving forces behind the creation and success of the Welsh Proms, one of the major music festivals in Britain.

Inaugurated in 1986, the proms are now established as a flagship of musical excellence.

Knighthood

Two knighthoods have been awarded in Wales.
People wearing masks during the Sars outbreak
Dr Meirion Rhys Evans has been awarded for his assessment of Sars

Professor Martin John Evans from Cardiff University is recognised for his services to medical science.

In 2001 Professor Evans was awarded the prestigious Lasker Award, a prize known as the American 'Nobel', for his work which was said to have "revolutionised the study of human health and disease."

David Hatch, Chairman of the Parole Board for England and Wales, has also been made a knight for his work in the Criminal Justice System.

Dr Meirion Rhys Evans, from the Vale of Glamorgan, a clinical senior lecturer at the University of Wales College of Medicine, has been given an OBE for services to the Hong Kong Government during the Sars outbreak.

He was a member of the World Health Organisation Expert Team which performed an assessment of the Sars situation in the Guangdong, China.

Winston Roddick, the first Counsel General to the Welsh assembly, has been made a Companion of the Order of the Bath.

He said the award represented "public recognition of the Counsel General's office and its contribution to the development of the National Assembly for Wales".

Those who have made a difference to their local communities are being recognised with MBEs.

Among them was David Gareth Evans who was awarded for his work at Morriston Rugby Football Club Choir in Swansea.

And William Alan Thomas, a coxswain from Tenby in Pembrokeshire, has been awarded for his work with the RNLI.

Lyn Davies MBE, Olympic gold medallist and president of UK Athletics, said he was shocked that no Welsh sports personalities had been honoured.

He said: "When you think of the achievements of Nicole Cooke, Mark Williams and Joe Calzaghe, it is very disappointing."


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SEE ALSO:
Honour list saddens Davies
31 Dec 03  |  Wales
Honours for volunteers and experts
31 Dec 03  |  South East Wales
OBEs for politician and festival director
31 Dec 03  |  North East Wales
MBE for Hay's book king
31 Dec 03  |  Mid
Honour for former assembly official
31 Dec 03  |  North West Wales
Ron snaps up OBE
31 Dec 03  |  Mid
Tenby trio are honoured
31 Dec 03  |  South West Wales



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