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Local hero celebrates St David’s Day at Downing Street

Barry John MBE: ‘Honoured’ be be invited to No. 10

BARRY JOHN MBE was welcomed to 10 Downing Street on Wednesday (Mar 1) to celebrate St David’s Day with Prime Minister, Theresa May.

Prime Minister Theresa May hosted a reception to celebrate St David’s Day in Downing Street on Wednesday (Mar 1) where she welcomed guests from the worlds of business, media, tourism sport and the charity sector.

Mr John was invited thanks to his work in Welsh Arts and also military charity sector in Wales. Mr John, whose work at The VC Gallery in Haverfordwest is well known in Pembrokeshire, was invited to Downing Street to celebrate St David’s Day and to be able to talk about the fantastic work that is happening in relation to the arts in Pembrokeshire.

A number of companies showcased their products at the event including Welsh whiskey, beer and wine as well as cheese from Snowdonia and Welsh cakes. There was also a performance from the Welsh choir, Côr Heol y March.

The day commenced with a meeting in the Houses of Parliament, before making their way to Downing Street for Theresa May to address the Welsh contingent.

Mr John, speaking to The Herald, said: “Having the opportunity to celebrate St David’s Day in Number 10 was a great honour.

“Speaking with members of the Government and Secretary of Defence was fabulous. Adorning the walls of Number 10 was also the most fascinating art from Turner to Freud, and even Tracey Emin!”

Speaking at the event, Prime Minister Theresa May said: ““I am pleased to be celebrating St David’s Day with a reception in Downing Street.

“This reception is about celebrating everything that Wales has to offer to the world – and there is indeed much to celebrate. This proud country – and a special part of our United Kingdom – is home to some of the greatest talent and industry in the world, and we can see that right here today.

“Whether it is leading figures from the worlds of business, sport and politics – or one of the finest arrays of award-winning cheese, cakes, ham, wine, beer, whiskeys, spirits and flowers that I have ever seen.”

She continued, saying: “I am immensely proud to be Prime Minister of the whole United Kingdom – and together with Alun as Secretary of State, I am absolutely committed to promoting and supporting Wales as part of that honour and responsibility.

“As I said on the doorstep of Number 10 when I became Prime Minister, I will always fight to preserve our proud, historic union, and I am determined that we will emerge from this great period of change stronger, fairer, more united and more-outward looking than ever before: And that will be the best possible outcome for Wales – and for the whole of our United Kingdom.

“Our precious Union is at the heart of everything my Government does, which is why Wales was one of the first places I visited when I became Prime Minister.

“And, today, as the Welsh flag flies high alongside the Union flag over Downing Street, we are reminded of the huge part Wales has played in our history and the crucial role it will play in the future prosperity of the UK.

“I wish you all a very happy St David’s Day.”

Speaking at the event, Secretary of State for Wales Alun Cairns said: “Today, we have a wonderful opportunity to celebrate our national day amongst the people making their indelible mark in their communities, their country, and across the world.

“From our brave service men and women to our great figures from the arts, business, culture and sport, these are the people helping to make Wales’ future as glorious as its rich and illustrious history.

“I send my warmest wishes to everyone celebrating St David’s Day at home and around the world.”