Two of the most prominent figures in Welsh sporting circles have been appointed to top positions on the Welsh Sports Hall of Fame committee.
Professor Laura McAllister CBE has taken over from the former First Minister, Rhodri Morgan, as chair following his death in 2017, while golden great Lynn Davies CBE has agreed to fill the new post of President.
Professor McAllister, 53, won 24 caps for the Welsh women’s football team, captaining the side on a number of occasions, and was the hugely successful and influential Chair of Sport Wales between 2010 and March 2016. She is currently Professor of Public Policy and the Governance of Wales at Cardiff University and is a member of the Institute of Welsh Affairs.
In 2016 she was honoured by the Welsh Sports Hall of Fame (WSHOF) when she became only the fourth recipient of the ‘Lord Brooks Award for Outstanding Services to Welsh Sport.’
The 75-year-old Davies set many records during his outstanding athletics career and most famously won the Olympic long jump title in Tokyo in 1964. He held the British record for 34 years, served as President of UK Athletics between 2002-16 and is widely regarded as one of his sport’s greatest ambassadors.
A charitable organisation created to commemorate the sporting achievements of Welsh sports men and women, and preserve the sporting history of the nation, the WSHOF was established in 1980 from the memorabilia collection of Welsh radio commentator G. V ‘Geevers’ Wynne-Jones.
Since 1990, inductees to the exclusive ‘Roll of Honour’ have been chosen annually by a committee of trustees comprising representatives from a range of sports, media, universities and museums. The organisation has also given awards to individuals for outstanding contribution to Welsh sport and honours the Welsh Sports Journalist of the Year.
Davies, the former Olympic, Commonwealth and European long jump gold medallist, was among the ‘10 Originals’ inducted onto the ‘Roll of Honour’ in 1990 during the chairmanship of Lord Jack Brooks. Since then the ‘Roll of Honour’ has grown to include 135 Welsh sporting greats from now fewer than 24 sports and para sports.
Professor McAllister said: “The work of the WSHOF over the past 30 years has kept alive the memories of some of the greats of Welsh sport and has ensured many great sporting artefacts have been preserved for the nation. I hope that during my term of office we can raise the profile of Welsh sport even higher.
“As a small nation it is regularly said we punch well above our weight on the world stage. The WSHOF’s role is to ensure that the great achievements of athletes, both men and women, administrators and volunteers are properly recognised and cherished.
“It is great to see the Welsh Government currently undergoing a consultation process to see if it is viable to create a Welsh sporting museum. For a period of time the WSHOF provided this service and still holds a fantastic collection of memorabilia.
“I hope we can find a way to work in partnership with the Government to find the best way to provide an exhibition that marks the great deeds of our sporting heroes and heroines and, more importantly, inspires future generations of boys and girls to follow in their footsteps.”
Lynn Davies said: “This is an unexpected honour for me and I am delighted to be able to play a part in helping to promote Welsh sport. It was wonderful to be included alongside the other nine Welsh sporting heroes in the original list of 10 members of the Roll of Honour.
“That group showed the incredible diversity of Welsh sporting talent and when you read down the list of those men and women included on the Roll of Honour it is a ‘Who’s Who’ of many of the greats of world and British sport, not merely here in Wales.”
The Hall of Fame exhibition was on permanent exhibition at the Sports Council for Wales, South Glamorgan County Council, the Museum of Welsh Life until 2009, when it moved to the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff.
Now chaired by McAllister, the committee of trustees consist of Jeff Andrews (secretary), Geoff Bray, Dave Cobner, Rob Cole, Phil Davies, Carolyn Hitt, Peter Jackson, Dylan Jones, Nicky Piper, Dave Roberts, Andrew Walker, Andrew Weeks and Clive Williams.