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Mid Wales businessmen shortlisted for Welsh Veterans Awards

Arwyn Watkins, OBE.

TWO prominent Mid Wales businessmen have been shortlisted for this year’s Welsh Veterans Awards.

Peter Webber, 87, from Berriew, near Welshpool, who co-owns LunchLocker Ltd and XXO2Cell Ltd, has been shortlisted for the Lifetime Achievement Award sponsored by Hugh James.

Arwyn Watkins, OBE, group executive chairman with a strategic focus on Cambrian Training Company, Trailhead Fine Foods and Mid Wales Fayres, all based in Welshpool and Chartists 1770 at The Trewythen in Llanidloes, has been shortlisted in two categories. He is also president of the Culinary Association of Wales (CAW).

He will contest the Entrepreneur of the Year Award, sponsored by Pinnacle Document Solutions Group and Leader of the Year Award, sponsored by Veteran Trees.

Both men have been finalists in the past, Peter having been named the Entrepreneur of the Year in 2019. This year’s winners will be announced at an awards dinner to be held at the Village Hotel Cardiff on July 5.

A serial entrepreneur, Peter is best known as the founder and former chairman of Newtown-based CellPath which specialises in cancer diagnostics consumables. He and his sons, Paul and Philip, sold the business to StatLab Medical Products from Texas last summer.

Peter’s current businesses are LunchLocker Ltd, which has patented sealed trays that hold multiple food products in a foldable packaging system and XXO2Cell Ltd, which specialises in HBOT, hyperbaric oxygen therapy chambers for patient therapy.

He did his National Service in the RAF, entering as a leading aircraftsman and being promoted to corporal junior technician.

A chartered engineer, he worked for several scientific instrument companies before, in 1966, setting up a joint venture with a US company which became Thermo Scientific.

He sold his shares in 1970 and has worked for himself ever since, developing several ideas and forming a company which became CellPath, starting manufacturing in Newtown in 1982.

Peter Webber with the Entrepreneur of the Year award he won in 2019.

“I am proud to have made a significant contribution to pathology for more than 50 years by introducing a series of innovations,” he said. “I have constantly tried to introduce products to improve cancer diagnostics.”

Mr Watkins, a farmer’s son from Llanwrtyd Wells, joined the Army as an apprentice chef in 1978 and has maintained his commitment to apprenticeship programmes ever since.

On leaving the Army in 1992, he joined the Merchant Navy, working for Stena Line and became a catering college lecturer in Kent before returning to Mid Wales to join Cambrian Training Company in 1998.

In 2002, he led a management buy-out of the company which has enjoyed considerable growth and success under his leadership. The company was named Apprenticeship Provider of the Year at the 2007 and 2012 Apprenticeship Awards Cymru.

Arwyn, who lives in Llanfair Caereinion, is a key figure in the work-based learning sector in Wales, having previously served as chairman and chief executive and currently as a board member of the National Training Federation for Wales.

In the New Year’s Honours List in 2018, he received an OBE for his services to education and training in Wales.

Passionate about developing chefs in Wales, he coached the Welsh Junior Culinary Team to a Culinary Olympics gold medal in 2004 and was appointed CAW president in 2015.

In 2018, he received the Worldchefs Presidents Medal for promoting the advancement and profile of the culinary arts and profession in Wales.

Late last year, Arwyn led a successful Team Wales bid to host the Worldchefs Congress and Expo 2026 at the International Convention Centre Wales, Newport. Wales. It will be the first time this global event has been held in the UK.