Welsh Icons – Editor’s Choice Awards 2011

Another one nearly over as they say. It is hard to believe that the Welsh Icons site will be 6 years old on the 9th of January. These are my personal picks of the year.

Remember, I live in South Wales and do not get out much – Many of these choices reflect the places I have been to or the people I have communicated with over the last year. I have to add that these choices are mine alone and may not reflect the views of the Welsh Icons team. Please use the comments section below to let us know who you think deserves an award.

Politics

Best AM
Leanne Wood AM – Leanne who is now in the running for the Plaid Cymru leadership has been a thorn in the side of the establishment for many years. A former probation officer, she has strong views on social justice and is normally to be found at the heart of many valid demonstrations. Leanne has also used the Freedom of Information Act effectively during 2011 to expose many fiscal irregularities.

Best MP
Glyn Davies MP – Glyn is the Conservative MP for Montgomeryshire and a farmer by upbringing. Glyn, a former AM has never been afraid to speak his mind, even if this means not following the party line. His use of social media sets an example to others. Never afraid to broach controversial issues Glyn will start a debate and engage with all opinions, sometimes even changing his viewpoint along the way

Best Newcomer
Russell George AM – I first heard from Russell when he was standing as Assembly member for Montgomeryshire earlier in the year. I must admit that I thought he was a bit wet and stood a snowball’s chance in hell of getting elected. I was wrong. Rather than the usual stream of press releases and photographs of the candidate visiting schools Russell really did try and understand the views of the electorate. His views on wind farms are well known and his active participation in the campaign against them has been welcomed by many people.

Music

Album
Cheryl Beer: Snow Tracks – Whilst trapped in the studio due to the snow last winter, Cheryl penned this exciting collection of songs which range from angry social criticism to heart rendering insights. As a live performer Cheryl Beer has performed in a diverse range of venues from Art Centres, Festivals, Village halls, through to the Millennium Centre and National Botanic Garden of Wales. She also puts her heart and soul into many community projects.

For more information please visit http://www.cherylbeer.co.uk

Best Live Band
Blond-e – There is no point in being editor of this site without being able to plug one of your pet projects. I was delighted earlier in the year to be asked to play keyboards in Blond-e. As you can probably guess, Blond-e are a Blondie tribute band based in South Wales. They are available for parties, weddings, birthdays, corporate events, festivals and just about anything else you can think of. I’d like to thank the rest of the band for their help and support over the past few months.

For more information please visit http://www.blond-e.com/

Ok, enough already. An honourable mention must go the ‘She Tasted Good’ who stole the show at this year’s Brecon festive. See http://www.shetastedgood.com for more information.

Food and Drink

Best Producer
The Jenkins Bakery – The Jenkins bakery employs 300 people, full and part-time, across 25 different stores in South Wales. The company has the Gold Standard Welsh Food Hygiene Award and the Investors in People award. The business employs 70 people at its Trostre HQ, while the Jenkins shop network stretches from Carmarthen to Bridgend. There are a total of 13 shops in Carmarthenshire and even one as far afield as Powys. They also make the best custard Slices in Wales.

For more information please visit http://jenkinsbakery.co.uk/

Best Restaurant
The Cricketers – Set in a classic Victorian Town House, within a well hit ‘six’ of the county cricket ground, The Cricketers offers a great range of quality Welsh real ales, chilled continental lagers and a fine selection of wines, many available by the glass; drinks to suit every taste. They also have one of the sunniest beer gardens in Cardiff (not that I go out in daylight much). This is what some people sneeringly call a gastro-pub. I for one love their food and have had quite a few good meals there in 2011.

For more information please visit http://www.cricketerscardiff.co.uk/

Best Pub
The Crofts – As I said above, I don’t get out much but Stephen and his team have turned this side-street pub in Cardiff into a real destination. Chef Lorraine has devised an innovative menu and whether you are looking for a pint and a home-cooked ham roll or a Sunday roast with all the trimming, this is the place to go. The live music on a Sunday night is well worth a look as well.

For more information please visit http://www.thecroftspub.co.uk/

OK, that’s my choice. What’s yours? Please use the comments section below to let us know.

Happy New Year to all our readers.

Dom
Editor – Welsh Icons

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