Thanks from our Award Winners

This page contains tributes from a number of recipients of Awards from the Worshipful Livery Company of Wales over the past few years who, in their own words, describe how their lives have been enhanced by their WLCOW Awards. The stories of what the Awards have meant to them and how they have helped them in their chosen career paths are truly inspiring. We hope that, in the future, with the additional funds we raised from the Silver Jubilee Appeal, we will be able to increase the number of Awards we make annually to the young people of Wales.

 The North Wales Eric Sunderland Memorial Award

"Welsh Artists’ colourful career flourishing with support from the Worshipful Livery Company of Wales”

Billy Bagilhole, born in Pwllheli on the Lleyn, graduated with a first class honours from Chelsea Art College in 2018 and struggled to continue with his painting due to the lack of affordable studio space in Central London. Assistance from the Worshipful Livery Company of Wales allowed Billy and his fellow Welshman, Cybi Williams from Blaenau to continue with their passion and realise their ambition by providing additional funding for a studio in Vauxhall.

Billy wanted to express his thanks by saying “without the support of the Livery Group we would not have the essential space to paint and I certainly would have struggled to accept the great honour of painting Sir Bryn Terfel”
The portrait was part of an S4C series called “ Wales on Canvas” and has served to raise the profile of Billy’s work. To view their work: billybagilhole.co.uk and cybiwilliams.com

Travel Award Winner 2021, Swansea University, Kristen Hawkins

Kristen Hawkins

Tissue bank visit by Swansea expert will help boost multiple sclerosis research in Wales
Welsh research on multiple sclerosis has been strengthened by a visit to the Welsh Tissue Bank by a Swansea expert, made possible by the scholarship she was awarded by the Worshipful Livery Company of Wales.
Kristen Hawkins is a researcher in Swansea University Medical School. Her research, which is funded by MS Society Cymru, aims to get a better insight into the biology underpinning multiple sclerosis (MS).
MS affects approximately 5600 people in Wales and 2.3 million worldwide. Currently there is no cure and the effect of available treatments is limited. Kristen’s project aims to understand the role of oxysterols in MS. Oxysterols are involved in the normal functioning of our bodies. They are made when the body breaks down cholesterol (which we all have and need in our bodies), but it’s possible that some oxysterols may malfunction in MS.
Kristen was awarded a Travel Scholarship by the Worshipful Livery Company of Wales, following a competition open to Swansea University researchers who are in the early stages of their career. The scholarship enabled her to spend three days at the Welsh Neuroscience Research Tissue Bank at the University Hospital of Wales in Cardiff. This stores thousands of biological samples donated by patients and healthy volunteers to enable researchers to gain a deeper understanding of diseases and how to diagnose and treat them.
During her visit to the Tissue Bank, Kristen met the team of researchers, clinicians and support staff and was given a tour of the facility. She also gave them a presentation about her research in Swansea.
Kristen highlighted two concrete examples of how the visit will benefit her research:
“The Tissue Bank holds samples of cerebrospinal fluid that I need for my research, so the team have kindly arranged for these so be made available to me.
In addition, I learned that the Tissue Bank contains a stock of a specific type of white blood cell that I have been isolating and analysing. I already have samples from healthy donors but will also need them from people with MS, so hopefully in the future I will be able to use the samples already stored in Cardiff, speeding up our research.”
Commenting on the visit overall, Kristen added:
“The visit to the Tissue Bank was extremely beneficial. I have learned more about human tissue processing and storage, governance, and been immersed in a different style of research laboratory. I have made valuable connections with other researchers and medics working on MS.
I would like to thank Dr Sam Loveless for hosting me during my visit and The Worshipful Livery Company of Wales for facilitating it with the award – I am truly grateful.”
Sylvia Robert-Sargeant of the Worshipful Livery Company of Wales said:
“One of The Company's aims is to encourage and support students to progress with a specific project. We raise funds through various charitable events and also by reaching out, not only to our Liverymen for financial support, but also to the wider community in Wales by inviting Welsh business circles, foundations and other organisations interested in promoting education, science, technology and the arts in Wales, to support our activities.
Kristen’s project illustrates how such cutting-edge work can make a vital contribution to medical research in Wales. We are delighted to be able to support Kristen in her efforts to build and develop links with fellow experts in her field.”

Journalism Travel Scholarship Award Ryan Leston

ryan leston

Ryan Leston’s Journalism Travel Scholarship Award allowed him to cover the Venice Film Festival – a plan he had been putting off for the last ten years. Ryan used the bursary for accreditation fees as well as to cover the cost of flights and a two-week stay in an apartment on the Zattere promenade. This was just a short boat ride away from Lido – the site of the festival itself – and allowed Ryan to spend as much time as possible at the festival, while also being able to dash back to his apartment to file articles and reviews.
The Venice Film Festival is one of the oldest in the world – now in its 78th year. It attracts a huge variety of filmmakers, actors and A-listers as studios enter their best indie films in the competition and launch their best mainstream titles alongside it. This year was particularly great, hosting world premieres for the likes of Dennis Villeneuve’s Dune and Ridley Scott’s The Last Duel.

Click here for full article


Chelsea Davies’ Journalism Travel Scholarship Award allowed her to fulfil a lifelong dream of driving until the road runs out. Chelsea used the funds to hire a campervan and drive from South to North Wales on the Wales Way. This collection of three self-drive touring routes – the Cambrian Way at 185 miles, the Coastal Way at 180 miles and the North Wales Way at 75 miles – act as a starting point to navigating the best visitor experiences of the country from dramatic coastlines to mountain peaks. Wales remains underrepresented as a tourist destination, both in international and domestic markets. She wanted to bring attention to how truly epic, wild and wonderful her country is by writing an evocative, long-form feature on what travellers can expect from a journey following its mountainous spine.

The Llanberis Pass, Snowdonia National Park. The hairpin bends of the road were a little scary to navigate in a campervan but the views were spectacular.

Chelsea has dreams of being a travel writer and says the award was incredibly beneficial to her future career and her postgraduate dissertation where her feature will be published alongside a collection of travel pieces on Wales. “I would never have been able to do a trip like this without the bursary,” she says. “It’s allowed me to see and write about an amazing part of my country never visited by me before.”
She started her five-day road trip in the Brecon Beacons National Park. She then drove north to explore Snowdonia National Park and Anglesey. She stopped frequently along the way to stretch her legs, hike and take in the view. She even tried wild camping at the base of Fan Brycheiniog. She jokes that the sheep were her alarm clock.

Chelsea at the base of Fan Brycheiniog, Brecon Beacons National Park.

Chelsea says, “I think the highlight for me was the people. I met some characters on the way who really shaped my trip and fueled these epic, serendipitous detours. The scenery was also spectacular. I absolutely loved walking Cwm Idwal in Snowdonia National Park. It looked like the setting of an epic fantasy. I half expected to see a kingdom of legend rise from the mist gathered on the surface of Llyn Idwal.”

A picture of another hiker during her misty walk at Cwm Idwal, Snowdonia National Park.

Cwm Idwal was a highlight of her trip and visiting was incredibly inspiring for her writing.

Wales has a lack of action-inspiring content in travel media. Chelsea says it was hard to find examples straying from dry, over-reported round-ups on the best things to do, see and eat and felt it was time to contribute a narrative that transported readers from their armchairs and actively encouraged tourism. She’s looking forward to finishing her feature and submitting it along with the rest of her dissertation this autumn.


Jake Horton’s Journalism Travel Scholarship Award provided him with the funds to cover a story which otherwise would have been far out of reach. He used his Award to travel to Arizona as having studied there he had become aware of the unique difficulties experienced within the Native American community when entering higher education. Far fewer Natives get into university and more drop out than any other demographic in America. Jake had always harboured the ambition to one day return and document the issue but never thought it would be possible, especially when having the funds of a student! After becoming aware of the fund offered to journalism master’s students by the Livery Company of Wales he jumped at the opportunity, and was lucky enough to be granted the award…

He boarded a plane to Phoenix, Arizona to film a three-minute piece on Native Americans in the American university system. He used Arizona as a case study - with the state having the second highest Native population in America it was symptomatic of the wider issue which was labelled a “national” crisis.

Only 13% of Native Americans have a bachelor's degree or higher, compared to 29% of the wider U.S. population. And only 39% of Native students who start a bachelor's degree complete it within six years, compared to 62% of white students.

During his two week stay in Arizona Jake spoke to as many people as possible and the answer was complicated - a history of educational suppression, campus cultural shock, financial strains from home, the weight of often being trail blazers, amongst other family pressures.

The topic had little previous coverage so the opportunity to produce a short film on a historic and far-reaching problem provided a valuable contribution to the existing literature, as well as an unforgettable experience in the process.

Ashleigh Welch – Cardiff Metropolitan University - Travel Scholarship to Canada – 2017

My company – Syml (Welsh for ‘simple’) – supports small businesses in Wales by providing a simple alternative to managing their finances in-house. The Travel Scholarship enabled me to attend ‘Start-up Fest’ in Montreal, Canada. It was a four-day business festival that involved conferences, networking events, business surgeries and work stations. The conversations I had with both entrepreneurs and start-ups who attended the event have influenced my company and my clients’ businesses. Over the course of the festival, I was inspired with ideas for Syml’s purpose, branding and future corporate culture – areas I might have rushed into if I had not gone to the event.

Emily Groves – Aberystwyth University – Travel Scholarship to Norway – 2017

The Travel scholarship enabled me to pursue my research on the Kelp Alaria Esculenta in Norway. I transferred from Dalhousie University in Nova Scotia to Aberystwyth to study for a BSc in Marine and Freshwater Biology and am now undertaking research for my doctorate. Thereafter I hope to pursue a career in conservation in Wales.

Hannah George – Cardiff School of Journalism – Travel Scholarship – 2017

Receiving the Travel award has allowed me to push myself professionally and grow as a journalist. It gave me the confidence and opportunity to apply my local journalism skills gained in Cardiff in an unfamiliar setting and approach Welsh issues from a global perspective. I am now employed by Bloomberg in London.

Emmanuelle Gaillard – Bangor University – Travel Scholarship to Dublin – 2016

Emmanuelle Gaillard hails from France and has just completed her law degree with distinction at Bangor Law School. She used her scholarship to travel to Dublin for a two-week internship in a firm of solicitors to gain experience of the Common Law system.

James Walton – University of South Wales – Travel Scholarship to Austin, Texas – 2016

The experience gained gave me first-hand experience of a specialist manufacturing environment and the information gained will put me in a better position to answer the questions posed by young people in STEM workshops in local schools.

Dr Jonathon Jones – Swansea University – Travel Scholarship to Canada – 2016

My research concentrated on thermomechanical fatigue properties of nickel based super alloys. The Scholarship enabled me to present my research at a major international conference held in Canada, which brought together the world’s leading researchers in my field, and enabled the new thermography controlled thermomechanical fatigue testing capability to be recognised internationally.

Natalie Lubbock – University of South Wales – Travel Scholarship to Honduras, Coral Conservation – 2014

Winning the Travel Scholarship made it possible for me to travel to Honduras in Central America where I was able to conduct research and fieldwork for my MSc dissertation. I was able to join the expedition with Operation Wallacea and fulfil my dream. I am currently looking to apply my surveying skills to degraded seagrass meadows in Wales.

Lauren Jenkins – Cardiff School of Journalism – Travel Scholarship to Spain (Catalonia) 2014

The scholarship afforded me the time and money to meticulously research the politics of Catalan identity, a subject that has continued to dominate our headlines to this day. It was a valuable lesson in making contacts overseas and provided me with an impressive portfolio to present to future employers. I have very fond memories of my time in Barcelona that will stay with me for the rest of my career.

James Bain - Bryan Marsh Gold Development Award Winner 2022

Bryan Marsh Gold Development Award Winner 2022 James Bain

Bryan Marsh Gold Development Award Winner 2022 James Bain

Dr Hywel Griffiths – Aberystwyth University Winner 2017

It was a pleasure and an honour to receive the Gold Award from the Livery Company. It was extremely gratifying to receive recognition for my academic work and also my creative work – work that has always been driven by the desire to contribute to life in Wales. I am extremely grateful to the Company for its support which will of great benefit to me whilst I am developing my career and continuing to work for the benefit of Wales.

Dr Sejal Bhatt – Royal Gwent Hospital Winner in 2016

I used the grant to support my educational commitments including the purchase of range of eyes, dummies of course, to hone my surgical skills with the precision, dexterity and decisiveness to ensure satisfactory patient outcomes.

Professor Tom Crick mbe – Cardiff Metropolitan University Winner in 2013

The Award came at a key time for me and provided the necessary platform and resources for the future. I had just chaired a review of the ICT curriculum for the Welsh Government, which has now lead into developing a new Digital Competence Framework for all schools in Wales, as well as being invited to chair the recently announced National Network for Excellence in Science & Technology, a £4M investment by the Welsh Government. My work in computer science education has been further recognised by being appointed mbe in the 2017 Queen’s Birthday Honours List. I have no hesitation in highlighting the impact of the Gold Award on my career and would wholeheartedly support its future funding, so as to be able to develop the next generation of promising young people in Wales.

Chantal Spiteri – ZAD Cardiff – Winner in 2012

The Gold Award helped shape my career and its progress enormously. Getting advice and assistance from solicitors and accountants about running a company enabled me to reach out to some very high status organisations in Wales, namely Wales Millennium Centre and National Dance Company Wales, and broker relationships with them around my vision for a new ZooNation Hip Hop Academy in Wales. Both organisations have agreed to a partnership and opened the doors to a brand new ZAD Cardiff which will see weekly hip hop classes for ages 4 - 21 running at the Dance house at WMC. The Award not only helped me get my vision underway financially but, in some ways even more importantly, the validation from the Livery Company helped to build my confidence to not only dream but to set about achieving that dream.

Dr Andy Carson-Stevens – Cardiff University – Winner in 2011

Being the inaugural recipient of the Worshipful Livery Company of Wales Gold Award changed my life. The Gold Award supported my travel to undertake a course at Harvard University and an internship with the non-profit think-tank, the Institute for Healthcare Improvement in Boston, USA. There I began to develop the courage to challenge the status quo in healthcare and build a network of collaborators. I purchased a laptop computer with award funds, and on it I successfully edited my first book which contained many chapters written by new colleagues made whilst travelling in North America.

Testimonial from Keira McNulty

“The Silver Jubilee Development Award has enriched my professional aspirations already! Since winning the Award in early 2021, I have been able to participate in two courses that will contribute to my ability to support refugees and people seeking asylum.

Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL) is a comprehensive course that I am in the final stages of. I currently work for a small charity that provides accommodation to asylum seekers who are destitute. With a TEFL qualification, I will be able to expand the services our charity can offer and volunteer to teach across the sector. While supporting individuals to progress their asylum claim and overcome issues such as destitution are leading priorities, my remit also includes providing activities that empower individuals seeking asylum in Wales.

My Award also allowed me to complete a week-long course with the Geneva Academy, examining the relationship between the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ESCRs). It was incredibly inspiring to work with individuals who advocate for ESCRs against diverse global challenges, as participants and speakers attended from every continent and focused on distinct challenges to human rights.
With the remainder of the Award monies, I am currently working with individuals with lived experience of asylum and destitution. I am carrying out walking interviews with individuals, asking them to reflect on the difficulty of rebuilding their lives in Wales to achieve a sense of home. Participants are also creating content with disposable cameras to capture their perspective of Cardiff and everyday life when destitute”.

Adam Tuft – Airbus, Broughton

I have a passion for engineering and wing manufacture and the support given to me by the Livery Company and Airbus enables me to pursue the various training and qualifications needed to further my knowledge and broaden my skills.

Aamir Patel – Airbus, Broughton

Receiving the Welsh Livery award has opened further pathways for me with regard to the development of my career in Aerospace.

WLCoW Music Award Winners Georgina Dadson and Ellie Knott – Bottled Project

Georgina Dadson and Ellie Knott

Dear Liverymen,

We write to you to thank you once again for your very generous donation towards our Bottled project. Since the wonderful Awards Ceremony in March we have finished delivering the first set of six sessions in Albany Primary School, a school local to us in Roath, Cardiff.

In the six sessions we explored the concept of emotional honesty with the children and their teachers, as well as covering a number of musicianship skills (pulse, rhythm, pitch and composition). We were amazed by the development of the children in six weeks and are thrilled to have received feedback from their teachers which details how they still use the language we discussed and the greater confidence of their staff to teach music in the classroom.

Your support enabled us to deliver a full and exciting set of workshops for young children. We were able to purchase a number of resources including percussion instruments, a projector, display easel and stationery for the project, as well as facilitating our printing costs.

We are also delighted to share with you that we have been accepted onto the Live Music Now scheme in Wales. They were very impressed with our Bottled project and are looking forward to helping us develop it even further so that it can be used across England and Wales in both mainstream schools and schools with children with additional learning needs.

We are also in preliminary talks about the possibility of translating the book into Welsh to further its reach and to extend our work in Wales.

Thank you once again for your generous support.

Kind regards,
Ellie Knott and Georgina Dadson
July 2022

Lucy McPhee – Cardiff Music School Bursary – 2017

As an emerging composer, without this bursary, I would never have been able to
take part in the Vale of Glamorgan Festival or in the Peter Reynolds Composer
Studio. These opportunities enabled me to work with the Grand Band Ensemble
from New York and to create global contacts.

Glain Dafydd – WLCOW/Sickle Award – 2016

With the award I was able to attend a one-to-one session with French harp master Germaine Lorenzini in Lyon, France. Glain won the Instrumental Blue Ribbon – one of the most prestigious Awards – at the National Eisteddfod in 2016. She also gained distinction in her final degree from the Royal College of Music in London.

Lizzie Lovell-Jones – National Children’s Orchestra – 2015

The award enabled Lizzie to attend the National Children’s Orchestra courses in
2015. ‘The music was demanding and very enjoyable and I have learnt so much
from this wonderful organisation.’

Steffan Llewelyn – WLCOW Canolfan Gerdd William Mathias Award

In March 2017 at the age of 13, Steffan was one of the youngest award winners at Canolfan Gerdd William Mathias which enabled him to continue his musical education.

James Gareth Davies – University of Birmingham – 2014

The grant from the Worshipful Livery Company of Wales enabled me to complete an MA in International Cultural Heritage Management at Durham university in 2014. My MA thesis was on ‘Onsite Digital Heritage Interpretation at World Heritage Sites: Current uses and future possibilities’. I am now one of six people that decide on which projects get heritage lottery funding in Wales.