Menter Aberystwyth Aber First Awards 2019

One of our favourite nights of the year is the Gwobrau Cyntaf Aber First Awards. Held this year on the 28th of June 2019 at the Great Hall, Aberystwyth Arts Centre.
The Aber First Awards have been running for almost 10 years now, and as one of Menter Aberystwyth’s core events, we feel really passionate about the evening and what it means for the businesses, individuals and organisations who take part.


This year we received a record number of 183 nominations across the 12 categories. We were inundated with nominations for the late Cllr Paul James, who sadly wasn’t able to be a part of our event. Paul was a much respected individual in the community, and is sadly missed. To commemorate Paul and his work, with the blessing of his family, we created a brand new award: The Paul James Award. Presented this year to members of Paul’s family, with a tribute from Elin Jones AM, this award will only be presented in future years to the person who the judges feel really has gone above and beyond. It was an honour to make this tribute to Paul, as our way of thanking him for all he has done, and continues to do. It was a special moment indeed to watch the audience give Paul, and his family, a standing ovation during Mrs James’ speech.


From the categories, our independent judging panel provided us with a list of three finalists, and one winner per category. Each finalist was invited to attend the ceremony, alongside the category sponsors and our funders. The night was an outstanding success, with everybody celebrating in great style – it’s not often an awards ceremony will host two standing ovations! Naturally, the Aber First Awards wouldn’t be right without Ioan Guile, our amazing MC – we must thank him for carrying the night with his usual wit and banter. We hope that all of the shortlisted finalists and winners had as good a night as Menter Aberystwyth did, and we hope we will see you all next year!
Take a look at our winners and finalists this year:

  • The Green Award – Sponsored by No21 Flowers. Winner: Llechwedd Mawr Holiday Cottage. Highly Commended: Aber Adventures, Vale of Rheidol Railway
  • Shopping Experience Award – Sponsored by Advancing Aberystwyth. Winner: Spellbound Balloon & Party Shop. Highly Commended: Turn The Page, Hannah Buck Body Piercing
  • Food & Drink Award – Sponsored by the Aberystwyth Farmers Market. Winner: Medina. Highly Commended: Byrgyr, Pennau Crafts
  • Outstanding Contribution to the Community Award – Sponsored by the Cambrian News. Winners: Lee Coulson & Keith Jones. Highly Commended: The Well
  • Celebrating New Business Award – Sponsored by Gwe Cambrian Web. Winner: Gwdihŵ Camping. Highly Commended: Amdani Film, Crys Melyn Cycling
  • Promoting the Arts Award – Sponsored by the Aberystwyth Arts Centre. Winner: Academi Gerdd y Lli. Highly Commended: Cwmni Arad Goch, Cwmni Cletwr
  • Happily Ever After – Sponsored by Digwyddiadau Calon Events. Winner: steilio Dots styling. Highly Commended: La Môr Bridal, Signature Makeup
  • The Welsh Language Award – Sponsored by Cwmni Theatr Arad Goch. Winner: Gwe Cambrian Web. Highly Commended: Use Your Welsh, Byrgyr
  • Rising Star Award – Sponsored by Electrical Estimates. Winner: Ryan Sutherland. Highly Commended: Hafwen Clarke, Tyrr Evans
  • Best Aber Welcome – Sponsored by Driftwood Designs. Winner: Amgueddfa Ceredigion Museum. Highly Commended: Cambria Tours, Vale of Rheidol Railway
  • Milestone of the Year – Sponsored by St Michael’s Church. Winner: TJ Davies & Son. Highly Commended: Her Dandy Wolf, Arad Goch
  • Event of the Year (2018), Public Choice Award – sponsored by steilio Dots styling. Winner: The Big Tribute Festival. Highly Commended: Aber 7s, The Wardens Pantomime

The coveted “Overall Winner Prize” was co-sponsored by the EGO and Aberystwyth University. Both have been instrumental in helping us with these Awards, and it’s an honour to work alongside them to ensure the success of the awards.


The judges chose the Overall Winner unanimously, as TJ Davies & Son.


Thank you to everyone who took part in the evening – from the team organising the event, to those who spent time to nominate businesses, individuals and organisations, to our sponsors and to the team at the Aberystwyth Arts Centre. Without you, the event wouldn’t be possible.

Menter Aberystwyth is a regeneration partnership for Aberystwyth and the surrounding areas. Their core funders are Aberystwyth University and Cyngor Tref Aberystwyth Town Council.