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Sketty architect, paralympian star and religious leaders with links to Swansea honoured as inspirational Brits

By South Wales Evening Post  |  Posted: January 05, 2013

By Rupert Hall

Retiring Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams

Retiring Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams

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ARCHITECTS, swimmers and religious leaders with links to Swansea have been honoured on a list of inspirational British people.

Paralympic star Ellie Simmonds, retiring Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams and architect Phil Coffey all made it on to the Independent on Sunday's 101 Great Brits of 2012 who have inspired, moved and uplifted the nation.

Mr Coffey is originally from Sketty and set up his London- based business Coffey Architects in 2005 to pursue his passion for architecture.

The architect, a former Olchfa Comprehensive School pupil, appears on the list of Great Brits in between such national heavyweights as Lord Sebastian Coe and England Cricket captain Alastair Cook.

He was 2012's Young Architect of the Year.

Mr Coffey's company also won the Stephen Lawrence Prize for best UK project on a budget of less than £1m for a primary school library in Kentish Town in 2011.

The firm won plaudits for another ambitious library at the British Film Institute in 2012.

Swimmer Ellie Simmonds has made this year's Independent on Sunday list.

The teenager, from Aldridge in the West Midlands, has won over the British people at the Beijing Paralympic Games in 2008 when she swam her way to a record-breaking double gold.

This year, she did it again, adding two gold medals, as well as a silver and bronze to her sizeable collection.

And, the 18-year-old who trains and lives in Swansea was appointed an OBE in this year's New Year's Honours List.

Her mother Val Simmonds said it was a lovely compliment to see Ellie's name feature on the list which also includes James Bond actor Daniel Craig and Take That star Gary Barlow.

She said: "It is always nice to know that people see her like that. She seems to evoke reaction, particularly off young people with the letters she receives.

"People write to see they have been inspired by her. She gets a lot of letters off children."

Ellie is back in training now which will last for the next three weeks in South Africa.

Former Archbishop of Canterbury Dr Rowan Williams' listing alongside the sporting star came just days before he became Baron Williams of Oystermouth in the New Year's Honours List.

Dr Williams was born in Ystradgynlais in 1950 and will now have the chance to sit in the House of Lords as a life peer.

The Independent on Sunday also listed its "plonkers" of the year which included I'm a Celebrity... Get Me Out of Here star and MP Nadine Dorries, Lord Justice Leveson and Premier League football which the paper claimed was left looking like an over-hyped pseudo-contest between overpaid shirt-pullers and divers after a summer of Olympian achievement and sportsmanship.

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  • antyall  |  January 06 2013, 11:52AM

    brochadav. I know whee you are coming from,however the abusers and liars are a small minority of professing Christians and are expelled from that church if found to wanting. Yes we can learn a lot from children Christ said "A little child should lead you" The trouble is as we get older we loose that innocence and who betide any man/woman who destroys the innocence of a child. I feel that as a leader Rowen started a lot of radical new ideas however it sometimes take a life time for change to really happen.

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  • brochadav  |  January 05 2013, 1:38PM

    To practice what they preach. Not to lie, cheat or steal, not to abuse children. I know people who go, or used to go to church before they passed, that can only be described as wolves in sheep's clothing. If you can tell me one thing Rowan Williams has done that is remotely uplifting or inspiring I'll be surprised. It's all relative I suppose.

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  • antyall  |  January 05 2013, 12:44PM

    bronchav.There is always room for one more hypocrite in any establishment, surly a Christian can only be human.What if anything do you expect from a Christian?

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  • brochadav  |  January 05 2013, 9:29AM

    Rowan Williams? uplifting and inspiring? Ellie Simmonds most certainly fits as she has shown that you can achieve anything in life if you work hard enough. Williams though, has shown how out of touch the church is with both modern life and it's own core values. If you want uplifting and inspiring just look at the way children deal with serious, sometimes terminal, illnesses. We can learn a lot from our children, I do not believe I can learn anything from Rowan Williams apart from you don't have to go to church to be a good person and besides, I know church goers who are/were nothing but hypocrites.

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