Sunday 22 June 2014

From Mud Hut to MBE!!!

It's not everyday that your name appears in the London Gazette. It only happens when you have the great privilege of being named in the Queen's Birthday Honours List when you receive an award. I got an M.B.E last Saturday, 14th June, 2014, and to say I feel deeply honoured would be an understatement. I still can't believe it! I found out over a month ago when I received a letter from the Cabinet Office asking me if I would accept the award. I had to ask if he thought it was really me they meant to address the letter to. It was real. Honestly trying to keep such a secret was really, really hard. I didn't even tell my son Tim in case he told his friends and it leaked out. Anyway, I am so proud and can't wait for the official ceremony to have it presented to me. That will be a day to remembe r for ever! It just goes to show that even someone from a humble background like my own can achieve. I am blessed!!

Last week the British Polio Fellowship held their road show in London and I did a session on fitness for wheelchair users and others. It went down well and it was nice to see the enthusiasm of the audience. I really appreciate my role as an ambassador for  the BPF and to spread the message about polio and the people who have survived it, 120,000 in the UK alone. A lot of that number still suffer from Post Polio Syndrome and the late effects of polio, and there is a lot needs to be done to give them the help and support they need. Imagine how many people in the world are suffering in countries where ignorance is rife? My main message is a very simple one - END POLIO NOW!

I also spent an evening in the Houses of Parliament as guest speaker for one of the charities I support, RESULTS UK, a great project that lobbies our MPs to try and end world poverty. Other speakers included; Aaron Oxley, executive director of RESULTS UK, Annette Brooke MP, and Mark Dybul, director, Global Fund to fight AIDS,TB, and Malaria. I spoke about the challenges facing children with disabilities and other marginalised groups in developing countries, e.g the fact that children with disabilities are more likely to be out of school than any other group of children, the barriers created by discrimination and the lack of properly trained teachers and accessible schools.

         "It's a huge honour and blessing to be named in Her Majesty's Birthday Honours to be a Member Of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (Mbe) for services to disability sport and charity work This recognition is not just for me but for all of us especially those that have given me opportunities to give back to society."

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