FOUR people from across Gwent have been shortlisted as finalists in the 2020 St David’s Awards, which celebrates extraordinary achievements.

Daniel Nicholson, 46, from Abergavenny has been nominated for the bravery award after saving three people who were trapped in a burning aircraft.

He has been nominated alongside Joel Snarr, 35, from Cardiff after their heroic efforts saved three people who were trapped in the burning aircraft on the A40 outside of Abergavenny on May 12.

Both men leapt from their cars to drag the three people to safety.

Among the nominees in the culture category is the Blaenau Gwent Film Academy. They are the first free film and training academy in Wales for young people aged between seven and 17. The film academy – which opened in March 2018 – runs classes in scriptwriting, acting and filmmaking. They are an inclusive group, with the tutors adapting their teaching ways to allow for young people of all abilities to take part.

Rachel Williams is representing Newport in the humanitarian category. In 2011, she left an abusive relationship of 18 years and was shot and severely injured while at work in a salon by her estranged ex. She has tirelessly worked to campaign against domestic abuse. She organised a Stand Up To Domestic Violence conference in Newport, which was attended by politicians and famous faces. She has also been praised in Parliament for her work in getting the Domestic Violence Bill support into Parliamentary discussion, which would the end cross-examining of domestic abuse victims by their abusive partners in family courts.

South Wales Argus:

Rachel Williams from Newport has been nominated in the humanitarian category of the St David Awards

The final nomination from Gwent is Alexander Anderson. The 18-year-old from Caerleon is nominated in the young person category. The teenager, who lives with Asperger’s Syndrome, has amassed hundreds of hours of volunteering for many causes that he passionately cares about, including visiting and befriending elderly people in his local area and playing piano to entertain them.

He is also an experienced member of the Air Cadets and has a range of qualifications. He was made a Diana Award Change Maker in 2017 and is now the Welsh ambassador for the organisation. He is a speaker on Autism awareness and a champion for others with the condition.

South Wales Argus:

Brigadier Russ Wardle presents the Pride of Gwent Lord Lieutenant of Gwent Award to Alex Anderson at the Pride of Gwent 2019 awards.


The finalists were announced by First Minister Mark Drakeford. He said: “I am honoured to name the 2020 St David Awards finalists – what an inspiring group of people we are lucky to have living and working in Wales.

“The awards are a celebration of people who make Wales a better place to live. Each of the finalists have made a big difference, from saving a life, to overcoming adversity, inspiring others, or supporting a community.

“Every single one of our St David Awards finalists are truly exceptional and a credit to our nation. I look forward to celebrating their achievements at the awards ceremony on Thursday, March 19.”

Mr Drakeford will decide and reveal the winners at the ceremony in Cardiff on Thursday, March 19.