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Last Updated: Monday, 1 March, 2004, 19:59 GMT
Bevan is ultimate Welsh hero
Aneurin Bevan, Owain Glyndwr, Tom Jones, Gwynfor Evans, and Richard Burton
The Labour politician faced stiff competition
NHS founder Aneurin Bevan has beaten off icons from the ancient and modern world in an online poll to find the greatest-ever Welsh person.

In results on Monday - St David's Day - the post-war health minister was the most popular out of 100 people.

The competition was stiff - he beat the 15th Century rebel prince of Wales Owain Glyndwr by just 117 votes.

Singer Tom Jones was third, Plaid's first MP Gwynfor Evans fourth and actor Richard Burton fifth.

The announcement at a ceremony in Cardiff Bay brought to an end six-months' of online voting organised by Culturenet Cymru - funded by the Welsh assembly - thought to be the largest poll of its kind attracting more than 3.5 million hits and 85,000 registered votes.

Top 10
Aneurin Bevan - NHS founder
Owain Glyndwr - 15th Century rebel leader
Tom Jones - singer
Gwynfor Evans - Plaid's first leader
Richard Burton - actor
Gareth Edwards - rugby player
Dylan Thomas - poet and playwright
David Lloyd George - former prime minister
Robert Owen - philanthropist and social reformer
Saunders Lewis - writer and politician

A trustee of the Bevan Foundation and leader of the Transport and General Workers Union, Jim Hancock, championed Aueurin Bevan, who was MP for Ebbw Vale from 1929 to 1960, at the Cardiff event.

"An icon of the left, he was a true working class hero," said Mr Hancock.

"The scourge of the right, he took on Conservative British establishment and changed Britain for every.

"To Nye it was the ordinary people who mattered and he was their champion.

"Wales and the rest of Britain owe him a great deal, a great socialist and a great man - a true Welsh hero."

As well as being a popularity poll, the object of the site is to educate readers about the famous Welsh figures featured which are accompanied by biographies of the top 100 Welsh icons nominated on the site.

Catherine Zeta Jones
Zeta Jones was the first woman on the list

Allison Coleman, who directed the project for Culturenet Cymru, said: "We are thrilled that so many people took the time and trouble to support their favourites in 100 Welsh Heroes.

"The scale of the response exceeded our wildest expectations.

"While Aneurin Bevan is a most worthy winner, we don't for a moment believe the outcome of our poll is the last word on the subject.

"We feel sure that we have succeeded in our aim of raising the profile of Wales internationally and drawing attention to the lives and achievements of a diverse and remarkable collection of people."

The leading women were Hollywood star Catherine Zeta Jones who came in 13th and athlete Tanni Grey-Thompson who was 25th in the poll.

"As an athlete it is nice to know that people out there watch what I do and support me, said Ms Grey-Thompson.

"If it [the poll] changes just one or two people's perception on how great Wales is then that is doing a great job."

Football legend John Charles, whose funeral took place on Monday, was 19th.

Novelist, dramatist and Plaid Cymru founder Saunders Lewis finished 10th.

The website will remain online as an educational resource.

Hero poll countdown goes on
05 Jan 04  |  Wales
Tom heads Welsh hero poll
29 Nov 03  |  Wales


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