A survey carried out by Penderyn has named Gareth Thomas as Welsh person of the decade. The survey, conducted on Facebook, aimed to find out which Welsh men and women had best represented Wales over the past ten years. Welsh people from any discipline could be nominated, and Penderyn received votes for musicians, sportspeople, actors, politicians and writers to name but a few.
Gareth Thomas will receive a bottle of Penderyn Single Malt Welsh Whisky to toast the New Year, personally signed by master distiller Jim Swan.
Gareth Thomas became the first Welshman to win 100 international caps in Rugby Union, and remains Wales most capped international. An outstanding club player as well as international, Thomas captained his home team, Bridgend, to a Welsh Premier Division title in 2003, without losing a single match at home. Although his personal life has come under scrutiny in recent weeks, he is keen to keep the focus on rugby, insisting in an interview with the Daily Mail: I am a rugby player first and foremost.
Steven Davies, managing director of the Penderyn distillery, commented: The result shows how Wales is changing. Its interesting that celebrities like Duffy and Charlotte Church didnt even get a single vote the people with the most votes were people like Gareth Thomas, Ruth Jones and Joe Calzaghe, who have really done something to put Wales on the map over the past ten years.
Sporting heroes like Ryan Giggs ranked highly, but musicians such as James Dean Bradfield and Shirley Bassey also got a lot of votes for their contribution to Welsh culture, as did Russell T Davies, whose decision to film in Wales has won him admiration from the Welsh public. It gives us great pleasure to present this bottle to Gareth Thomas, and we are sure that he will continue to make Wales proud over the next ten years.
Here are the top 5 (there was a tie for 5th place):
Gareth Thomas 14.3%
James Dean Bradfield 12.85%
Russell T Davies 8.5%
Michael Sheen 7.8&
Joe Calzaghe 6.4%
Ryan Giggs 5%
Ruth Jones 5%