Queen’s Birthday Honours for Rob Brydon and Aled Jones
Wales’ richest person Michael Moritz, comedian Rob Brydon and singer and broadcaster Aled Jones are among those recognised in this year’s Queen’s Birthday Honours.
Sir Michael, who invested in companies such as YouTube, receives a knighthood for promoting British economic interests and philanthropic work.
Brydon and Jones receive MBEs, as does Only Men Aloud choir’s Tim Rhys-Evans.
Welsh Liberal Democrat leader Kirsty Williams receives a CBE.
Other Welsh honours included an OBE for BBC comedy producer Gareth Gwenlan, who has been associated with a host of hit series from Only Fools and Horses to Yes Prime Minister.
Cardiff-born billionaire Sir Michael Moritz, 58, chairman of the US-based venture capital firm Sequoia Capital, overtook entrepreneur Sir Terry Matthews to gain the top spot in The Sunday Times Rich List earlier this year.
He told the BBC he was “startled and flattered” by the news of the honour and “thrilled to be considered a productive British export.”
Sir Michael added: “My personal circumstances have been defined and shaped by where I started in Wales.
I’m delighted and deeply honoured to be recognised”
End Quote Aled Jones Singer turned broadcaster
Sir Michael, who has an estimated wealth of £1.1bn, went to Howardian High School in Cardiff and was the only pupil in his year to go to Oxford University.
He donated £75m to the university last July to help students from poorer backgrounds.
The donation meant Oxford could abolish an increase in tuition fees for students from low-income families.
Sir Michael, who lives in San Francisco, has been made a Knight Commander of the British Empire (KBE), which can be given to Britons based abroad or in an honorary capacity to foreign nationals.
Kirsty Williams, who was elected Brecon and Radnorshire’s AM in 1999, has been Welsh Liberal Democrat leader for five years.
“This really was a surprise to me,” said Ms Williams in reaction to receiving the honour.
“To be awarded a CBE is a great honour and one which I am delighted to receive.”
Welsh entertainers have also fared well with recognition for both Brydon and Jones.
Brydon, the comedian, TV presenter and actor, said he accepted his MBE “not just for me but for short Welshmen everywhere”.
Last year, the Swansea-born star made his West End stage debut as well as being one of the hosts for The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Concert in London.
The 48-year-old, who starred as Uncle Bryn in Gavin And Stacey, added: “This is a great honour and an even greater surprise.”
The former Radio Wales presenter went on to star in the dark TV comedy Marion And Geoff as a taxi driver going through a divorce.
He now hosts his own TV chat series and the panel show Would I Lie To You?
Also a gifted mimic, Brydon once stood in for Ken Bruce for an entire edition of the Radio 2 host’s programme as an April Fool’s Day joke.
There is an OBE for BBC comedy producer Gareth Gwenlan, 76, originally from Brecon, Powys, but now living in Herefordshire.
He said the two most memorable series he worked on were The Fall and Rise of Reginald Perrin and Only Fools and Horses.
The latter, written by the late John Sullivan, had stood the test of time as it is endlessly recycled on digital television channels, he said.
“I was watching an 20-year-old episode the other day and I thought how clever it was. John Sullivan was such a great talent.
“As well as being so well observed, it is so rich, which is why it has survived so long.”
A former head of comedy at BBC Wales, Gwenlan said he had wondered if the letter about his honour – signed by a Cabinet secretary he had dealt with through work – might have been a prank, and did not know for certain until he was contacted by the media.
He said: “It did cross my mind especially when I thought of some of the japes that used to be got up to.
“I remember taking a call from Number 10 (when he was making Yes Prime Minister) and I didn’t reply for three days.
“I was convinced it was a wind-up. The call came through in the afternoon about an hour after the bar closed, which in the 1970s and 80s was when the jokes happened.
“When I did reply, I had a very irate press officer saying that not only did the prime minister [Margaret Thatcher] want to present the award to the actors, she was also wanted a moment to play scene with them.
“That turned out not to be a prank either.”
TV presenter Aled Jones, 42, who received his MBE for services to music and broadcasting, spoke of his pride at the honour.
“I’m delighted and deeply honoured to be recognised,” he said.
“I’ve been really lucky to have worked with amazing people during my time in the music and TV industry, and now have the privilege to wake the nation up on Daybreak every morning.”
He started presenting the ITV morning show last year after a career which has seen him in the charts, hosting religious shows on TV and radio, and performing in musicals.
The Anglesey-born presenter has a Sunday programme on BBC Radio Wales.
Jones found fame at the age of 12 with his top five hit Walking In The Air, which was written for the animated movie The Snowman.
He went on to perform for the Queen and sang at the wedding of Bob Geldof and the late Paula Yates, and after studying at the Royal Academy of Music he went on to take the lead role in Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Joseph And The Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat.
The choirmaster behind Only Men Aloud and Only Boys Aloud Tim Rhys-Evans said he was “chuffed to bits” with his MBE.
“I’m hugely honoured,” he told BBC Radio Wales. “To get it for something you’re passionate about is lovely.”
The New Tredegar-born singer said: “When I go home I can see there are problems, young people with little to do, a lack of aspiration and you see teenage lads who get the blame for it all. That’s the impetus behind Only Boys Aloud.”
Elsewhere in Wales, other honours went to head teachers, charity workers and community volunteers.
Foster parents Alice and David Oldfield from Shotton, Flintshire, receive MBEs after looking after more than 100 children.
The couple, both 75, say they have no intention of giving up fostering “as long as we can move around”.
On Anglesey, beekeeper Martin Shaw receives an OBE for services to beekeeping and the National Bee Unit, which is involved in the controlling the spread of bee diseases and training for beekeepers.
And 88-year-old “community champion” John Cox of Newport receives a BEM (British Empire Medal) after helping start a community centre in a former gym building which he fought to save.