The Royal Mint welcomes Cheryl Gillan as she visits Welsh businesses getting set for London 2012

Staff at The Royal Mint welcomed the secretary of State for Wales, Cheryl Gillan, yesterday as she visited the highly secure manufacturing site as part of her tour of businesses, specialists and elite athletes all involved in the mission to bring Olympic and Paralympic glory to Wales.

Following a recent trade visit to South East Asia where she witnessed the signing of a £6m deal between The Royal Mint and the Thailand Treasury, the Welsh Secretary was back in South Wales and had the opportunity to view the striking of the Paralympic medals at The Royal Mint in Llantrisant.

Cheryl Gillan, Charlotte Beard and Nathan Stephens admire a Paralympic medal

Cheryl Gillan, Charlotte Beard and Nathan Stephens admire a Paralympic medal

Mrs Gillan was joined by Paralympic athlete Nathan Stephens and National Performance Manager Anthony Hughes for a visit to The Royal Mint where the production of the Paralympic medals was underway, before visiting Bridgend-based Olympic supplier First4Numbers.

Speaking about her visits, Mrs Gillan said:

I am delighted to be able to witness first-hand the extraordinary hard work and dedication going on out on the track, in the gym and behind the scenes to make the 2012 Games a success here in Wales. It is also encouraging that businesses in Wales are benefitting from the Games and are helping to inspire other businesses to showcase their wares on the international stage.

This is an exciting year for the whole of the UK with both the Olympic Games and the Diamond Jubilee taking place and all nations have an opportunity to shine. Wales surpassed expectations at the 2008 Olympic and Paralympic Games in Beijing and this tenacious spirit that will serve us well at the 2012 Games.

The Welsh athletes taking part in the Games are inspiring a new generation not just to get involved in sports, but also to work hard to reach their goals. I wish everyone involved in brining even more sporting glory to Wales the very best of luck.

Vin Wijeratne, Director of Finance at The Royal Mint said:

In this celebratory year when the eyes of the world turn to the United Kingdom I am delighted to welcome the Secretary of State to The Royal Mint.

We are immensely proud and honoured to be able to strike and handcraft each of the 4,700 Olympic and Paralympic victory medals. More than 800 local people are employed by The Royal Mint, and now each one will be able to tell their grandchildren that they, and South Wales, had a hand in creating a piece of Olympic history.