A CARDIGAN man has received an MBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List for his contribution to the community during the coronavirus pandemic.

Barry Rees, a corporate director at Ceredigion County Council, was born and raised in Cardigan, where his parents still live, and he attended Ysgol Gynradd Penparc and Ysgol Uwchradd Aberteifi.

He said: “I am very proud to receive this honour in recognition of the fantastic teamwork that has contributed to Ceredigion’s fight against coronavirus.

“It would be far more appropriate for this to be a team honour rather than an individual one, so I want to acknowledge the work of many valued colleagues working for Ceredigion County Council who have continued to provide ongoing leadership, support, inspiration, resolve and initiative throughout this crisis.

“All of this enabled us to put my initial idea of a local contact tracing system into practice in less than a week at the early stages of the pandemic.

“I also wish to acknowledge the close partnership working that has developed with the council’s partners in relation to coronavirus, particularly Hywel Dda University Health Board, our neighbouring local authorities and Public Health Wales.

“As well as rolling out local contact-tracing at a very early stage, the council has put in place a number of measures in an attempt to keep the residents of Ceredigion as safe as possible and I accept that some of these have been less than popular among some.

“However, we continue to be driven by our aim to protect our residents, particularly the more vulnerable and we are tremendously grateful to the vast majority in Ceredigion who have made sacrifices in order to comply with guidance and advice.

“Over the last fortnight or so, we have seen the highest number of coronavirus cases in Ceredigion since the pandemic began, which is a stark reminder that the job isn’t yet done and we are likely to have a very difficult winter ahead.

“I would appeal to everyone to bear with us and continue to follow coronavirus guidelines closely so that we can continue to protect people until we can safely and gradually get back to something close to normality.”

Barry graduated in Zoology from Aberystwyth University in 1990 and gained his PGCE the following year. He taught science at Ysgol Penweddig for 15 years and held various leadership roles at the school.

He was appointed as HMI with Estyn and was a secondary schools inspector for three years. He joined Ceredigion County Council in 2009 as Head of Educational Improvement. He has since held the roles of Head of Service and Director of Education and is currently a Corporate Director.

He lives in Rhydyfelin and is married to Rhian, a maths and numeracy advisor with the council. They have two children, Ifan and Elin. Ifan is currently in his fourth year of an MEng degree in Civil Engineering at Swansea University. Elin is in Year 13 and is studying for her A levels at Ysgol Penweddig.