A FORMER Gwent MP has been recognised in the New Year’s Honours for his services to music.
But Huw Edwards, who represented Monmouth, insisted: “I’m not a musician in the real sense, just an ordinary bloke who sings in a choir.”
He has been named a Member of the British Empire as a founding member of Monmouth Male Voice Choir and recognised for services to music and charity – with the choir singing in support of small local charities, local village halls and churches.
The former Labour MP, who twice represented Monmouth, from 1991 to 1992, and then from 1997 to 2005, was there when the choir was first formed in 2012, on the back of yet another Welsh rugby success, and served as chairman for 10 years.
“I was very good friends with a guy called Aneirin Hughes, whose an actor, and we were in the pub in Monmouth when Wales had just won another grand slam and there was a lot of bad singing and good beer and Aneirin said why not start a choir. He is really good at organising things like that and we started off with eight or nine for the first rehearsal in his house and moved to a bigger hall.
“We now have a superb musical director in Lewis Hutton who brings other people in and he’s very much got an entertainer’s style as a conductor. Why not come along and here us sing?”
The choir now has 60 members and holds rehearsals at 7.30pm every Thursday at Monmouth Baptist Church where new members are welcome. It has twice sung at the Royal Albert Hall, the National Eisteddfod and before Welsh rugby internationals, most recently a home fixture against Georgia.
Mr Edwards added: “Everyone involved with Monmouth Male Voice Choir over the past twelve years deserves to share in this honour – choir members, our conductors and accompanists, the thousands who have attended our concerts and those in the many charities we have supported.”
Also recognised with an MBE is consultant nurse Linda Edmunds who leads the Aneurin Bevan University Health Board’s Heart Failure and Cardiac Rehabilitation team which runs clinics across Gwent.
Mrs Edmunds, who lives in Haverfordwest, has worked with the Gwent board for the past seven years having joined the NHS in 1977 and worked in cardiac nursing since 1983, first in Cardiff and the Vale including clinics in Llandough and Barry.
“It’s obviously lovely and not something you expect but it’s nice to have been awarded it,” said Mrs Edmunds of the honour and said she has been involved since specialist services were developed in the early 1990s.
“There were very little cardiac rehabilitation services then, I was with Cardiff and Vale, they started the programme and groups started across Wales. It’s great to have the opportunity to have been involved in the service since the beginning and the same with heart failure there was very little nursing input 25 years ago and to see it grow from one person in a service to a full team is wonderful.”
Married for 38 years, the 64-year-old grandmother of two, said her husband Chris has “supported me throughout my career and I probably couldn’t have done it without him” and said she felt the “humbling” honour is an acknowledgement for “all the teams I’ve worked with”.