THE spotlight was thrown on the best of Carmarthenshire’s cultural talent at a glittering ceremony at Llanelli’s Ffwrnes Theatre on Friday evening.

A Celebration of Culture, organised by Carmarthenshire County Council and Media Wales, recognised individuals and groups who excelled in their art during 2018.

It was the second time the county’s cultural talents have been recognised in this way.

Cllr Peter Hughes Griffiths, Executive Board Member for Culture, Sport and Tourism, said: “We have a wealth of talent here in Carmarthenshire, and it was wonderful to shine a light on those who go the extra mile to add colour and joy to the lives of others through their art, literature, music and drama. It was a wonderful evening with fantastic performances and chance to celebrate the achievements of so many people.”

Winners were chosen from public nominations across six categories – excellence in Visual Arts and Crafts; Performing Arts; Creative Media; Literature; Heritage; and Music.

The judging panel also selected winners in two special categories.

The award for Young Talent went to Cerys Angharad, a 10-year old harpist who has already won numerous national awards, and Outstanding Contribution to Culture went to Gwyn Nicholas, musical director of Côr Llanpumsaint, a mixed choir open to all abilities and ages and which celebrates 40 years this year.

BBC Radio Cymru presenter Marc Griffiths compered the ceremony, with entertainment provided by Côr y Strade and Cerys Angharad – both award winners during the evening.

Among the other winners were Tywi Valley Open Studios, who were awarded in the category for Excellence in Visual Arts and Crafts, sponsored by Leather Sofa Company, along with Mathew Browne and Michele Shiels.

Mess up the Mess Theatre Company picked up an award for Excellence in Performing Arts, sponsored by Llanelli Trailer Centre, along with People Speak Up and Clybiau Ffermwyr Ifanc Sir Gar.

One of the awards for the Excellence in Literature category, sponsored by Securahome, was collected by Llandeilo Litfest 2018.

Christoph Fischer, from Llandeilo Litfest, said: “We won the Excellence in Literature award at the Carmarthenshire Celebrating Culture Awards, for the second year. That’s been incredibly encouraging to keep going.

“Nominations were open to the public so there was an element of popularity as well as the expert panel picking the finalists.”