A BUSINESS owner who opened his first shop on the High Street in 1973 has been appointed MBE.

Tim Williams has been recognised in the New Year Honours 2022 list for his services to business and the community in Prestatyn.

The 73-year-old set up Bon designer wear, at 104 Prestatyn High Street, in the 70s. He relocated to a bigger premise, further up the street to 121, in 2018.

Mr Williams is married to Ann, who was awarded the BEM - British Empire Medal - for her services to charity and the community in 2015, has been praised for "utilising every opportunity to showcase Prestatyn High Street for the good of the independent traders and the town as a whole."

He was also recognised for creating the Prestatyn Classic Car Show.

Rhyl Journal: Mr Johnson speaking with Bon owner Tim Williams. Picture: James Davies MP/TwitterMr Johnson speaking with Bon owner Tim Williams. Picture: James Davies MP/Twitter

This started 20 years ago. The event, which also allows charities to showcase their work and collects donations for charities, is the largest free car show in North Wales and attracts thousands of attendees annually.

Mr Williams told the Journal: "I first found out [I had been recognised] when I received a letter from the Cabinet Office in late November which informed me that I had been recommended to Her Majesty The Queen for the honour of an MBE. I had absolutely no idea that this was coming and just couldn't believe what I was reading. In fact I had to read it a few times to take it in.

"It is of course an immense honour to be recognised and I also feel a slight embarrassment as none of what both my wife and I have achieved would have been possible without the help of many others willing volunteers, many of whom have been with us since the shows started and now have become firm friends."

Mr Williams opened Bon designer wear in April 1972 after working for menswear shops as manager.

He added: "The last one, some may remember as Horesh and Sons in Rhyl, a privately owned fashion business, which stood me in good stead when the opportunity arose to open my own shop.

"The 70s were a brilliant time for fashion, with styles changing almost weekly - an exciting decade to start.

"I have had fantastic staff working with me and after a few years we opened Bonne Amie, a ladies fashion shop, which was owned by my wife, then Razzamatzz, a gift shop in Prestatyn High Street.

"I have always believed in Prestatyn. The town has always oozed charm and independent shopping."

Mr Williams said some of the "hardest times" he ensured were in the mid 1990's when the Point of Ayr Colliery closed.

He explained: "This coincided with the general slow down in all high streets and a Feasibility Study, organised by the County Council on the Prestatyn High Street, led to the conclusion that it was an unusual street, being on a hill, and with a large space in the centre occupied by the vicarage.

"We always thought that the way forward would be to hold events in the town, to draw people back to the High Street.

"Ann remembered attending a garden party as a young girl in the vicarage and after speaking to Rev Clive Southerton, she thought she would organise a Flower Show in the Gardens. This proved a success and after a few years we thought it would create a nostalgic atmosphere if we had a few classic cars by the entrance."

In the year 2000, for the millennium, the couple were trying to come up for ideas which would allow the town to celebrate.

Tim said: "For a one off, we held a classic car show.

"It was so fantastically received by both the car owners and the people of the town that we had to hold it again and it became an annual event which has grown from very small beginnings to probably the largest free Classic Car Show in North Wales. It now not only fills its original parking area but spills out into the High Street, the hill now being an asset as the cars can be seen displayed there.

"The car show also generated further publicity for the town when some of its cars featured in Carol Vorderman's life documentary.

"We have also been asked to supply cars for fashion shoots and TV work and to carry the judges for the Wales in Bloom Competition."

Mr Williams met Boris Johnson, prime minister, during the summer of 2021.

Mr Johnson joined Welsh Conservative leader Andrew RT Davies on his campaign trail ahead of the Welsh Government election on May 6.

"Meeting the prime minister in the summer of this year was a privilege as I believe without the support of this government throughout Covid, many of our shops would not have survived," Mr Williams said.

"It has not been an easy two years, but we are still here."

Mr Williams was born and lived at the Boat Inn, Erbistock.

He attended Rhuabon Grammar School and came to Prestatyn when he was 16. He met his wife when he was 18 and the couple married when they were 20, in 1968.

The couple have two grown up sons - Peter who owns Autoservices Garage in St Asaph and Chris who lives in Ormskirk and manages an design office for an online fashion company.

Mr Williams said: "During my years at the Boat Inn, one of our summer passtimes was building go karts which we’d race down the steep hill leading to the Inn with a lookout on the sharp corner to warn of oncoming traffic.

"Many times I failed to make the corner ending up in a controlled slide on the gravel drive of the rectory. This was my first taste of mechanics and speed, something that was resurrected for the Soap Box Derby that we held down the vicarage lane for several CCS’s.

"During the 80s I was a member of Clwyd Vale MC, competing in rallies with my brother-in-law Andy. So it was a natural that anything to do with cars was my scene."

Mr Williams has been an active member of the local Business Association and took part in the Town Together partnership.

He has, in previous years, been an integral part of Prestatyn’s entries to the Great British High Street Competitions. He is also actively involved in the town’s successful Wales and Britain in Bloom entries.

Mr Williams added: "Neither Ann or myself ever envisaged the honour of receiving these awards.

"All we cared about was the survival of Prestatyn High Street which now is looking in great shape."

James Davies, MP for Vale of Clwyd, said: “I congratulate Tim Williams MBE, whose work is now rightly recognised alongside Ann, with her BEM. 

"I have enjoyed working with both in the community for over 20 years and Tim’s annual Classic Car Show has helped bring enjoyment and also great success to Prestatyn High Street.”