A CEREDIGION colonel has spoken of his pride after being awarded an OBE in the King’s Birthday Honours List.

Colonel Sion Walker, Deputy Commander at 160th (Welsh) Brigade, who grew up near Aberystwyth and now lives in Aberaeron, is an army reservist but employed in a full-time role in Brecon Barracks, the headquarters for the British Army in Wales.

He was previously head of faculty at Ysgol Gyfun Aberaeron, balancing this with a part-time career as an officer in the Army Reserve.

A Welsh speaker, he was seconded to Welsh Government during the pandemic as the senior military advisor to the First Minister and NHS Wales and as Deputy Commander he headed up the team that delivered the Wales commemorative events to mark the passing of the Duke of Edinburgh, the late Queen’s Jubilee celebrations and the passing of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II and subsequent accession of King Charles III to the throne.

His citation reads: “Colonel Walker’s contribution to operations in Wales has been extraordinary. He led the successful planning and execution of an unprecedented scale of UK Operations and a number of extraordinary national ceremonial events.

“In the winter of 2021/2022 NHS Wales was under considerable pressure, which resulted in several requests for military support under Operation Rescript.

“He led the team deployed to Welsh Government to support bolstering the NHS Wales Patient Pathway.

“Having concluded Operation Rescript in Summer 2022 he was soon hosting several multi-agency planning exercises which ensured that the national response to the death of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II was appropriate.

"His closing act in command of Joint Military Command Wales was leading on ceremonial activity in Wales to commemorate the Coronation of His Majesty King Charles III.”

In response to the award, Sion said: “I was absolutely dumbfounded when informed by Commander 160th (Welsh) Brigade, Brigadier Nick Thomas, of my nomination and once it had sunk in, felt very honoured.

“Throughout my military career I have always been lucky to have worked with talented teams and teamwork is without doubt the core to success.

“During the period of the pandemic and overlapping Royal duties in Wales, both happy and sad, I was again lucky to be supported by talented people and this honour is as much a reflection of their dedication to duty.

“What has made this especially poignant is that I was allowed to share my news early with my mum, who is terminally ill, and to see the smile it brought to her face.

“My daughter is also looking forward to getting married in St Paul's Cathedral which she has informed me is now possible.”