SOUTH Wales Central assembly member and Penarth school governor David Melding has been awarded a CBE.

Welsh Conservative AM and Headlands School governor Mr Melding, has been awarded a Commander of the Order of the British Empire in the 2018 New Year’s Honours list.

Mr Melding has been a member of the Welsh Parliament since its inception in 1999, and a leading figure at the heart of the devolution process.

Before his election to the National Assembly he was a member of the Conservative Research Department, manager of the Carers National Association in Wales and a former deputy director of the Welsh Centre for International Affairs.

He has campaigned for the Welsh Conservative Party for three decades having also stood in the 1997 General Election in Cardiff Central.

During his time at the Assembly, David has held many roles, including as the Welsh Conservatives' director of policy, responsible for producing the Welsh election manifestos in 2003, 2007 and 2011.

He is currently the Welsh Conservative shadow secretary for environment and housing.

During the Fourth Assembly, David was elected unanimously as deputy presiding officer.

His contribution to politics has also extended to the foundation of the Welsh Think Tank, Gorwel.

Mr Melding said the award had come "out of the blue” and is "amazing."

He added: “As a Conservative I’m very grateful that we have an honours system that does reward people in this manner and I’m going to enjoy it.

"I’d just come back from the garage, having paid a very heavy car repair bill. The day ended much better than I thought it would at that stage."

Commenting on the award, leader of the Welsh Conservatives, Andrew RT Davies, said: "David has been a shining example of how to conduct yourself in public life.

"Widely regarded as one of the National Assembly’s most able members, David's superb record, political longevity and steadfast commitment to public service make him thoroughly deserving of formal recognition.

"His vast knowledge of constitutional affairs and championing of devolution has won him many plaudits, while he’s been vociferous on issues such as mental health and looked after children – long before they were viewed as fashionable causes.

"David’s contribution also stretches beyond politics, as an officer and volunteer with St John’s, while he is also a governor of long-standing at Headlands School in Penarth and Meadowbank Special School in Cardiff.

"It has been a pleasure to serve with David as regional members for South Wales Central and I’m sure people from right across the political spectrum will join in offering congratulations."