Team GB paralympian legend, author and charity champion Anne Wafula-Strike, has been made an MBE in the Queen’s birthday honours – for her services to disability, sport and charity and in particular for her charity work for The British Polio Fellowship, for whom she is a key Ambassador.
Having competed in wheelchair racing since 2002, Anne made her GB debut at the Paralympic World Cup in 2006 and scooped three gold medals at the DSE Championships in Manchester. Anne attended the Paralympic games and won three gold medals at the British Disability Sports events. Anne gave out the prizes at The British Polio Fellowship’s National Indoor Games in March and attended the charity’s roadshow in London in June. Anne’s powerful speech at Rotary’s International Offices in London on the 30th May to leading lights in the fight against Polio led to her being invited by the Nigerian government to speak on the issue of Post Polio Syndrome (PPS) at a Polio conference in Australia.
“We are absolutely delighted to congratulate Anne on her richly deserved MBE,” said The British Polio Fellowship CEO, Ted Hill MBE. “As one of our key Ambassadors, Anne has actively supported us at many events and has become the darling of our members as a consequence. Anne took our PPS message all the way to Australia and she still found the time to speak and deliver a workshop at our roadshow in London the following week. Living with the late effects of Polio and PPS herself, she really connects with our members and we are grateful for all she has done for the charity and an MBE is just reward for all her efforts.”
Anne is the latest of a growing list of people associated with The British Polio Fellowship who have been honoured by Her Majesty this year. Merseyside’s Michael Griffiths was awarded the BEM and Malcolm Kielty of Halifax like Anne was made an MBE in the Queen’s New Year Honours List.
“I still cannot believe the news, I am still in shock,” said Anne when commenting on her MBE. “I found out a while ago and it has been hard to keep it a secret! I try to help charities like The British Polio Fellowship, as I am who I am because of charity work and the opportunities I was given as a result. I know it makes a difference to somebody’s life.”
Struck down with Polio at the age of two and a half and paralysed below the waist as a consequence, Anne overcame prejudice in her Kenyan village so horrible, it is difficult to imagine. A world where neighbours believed she was cursed and called Anne a snake because of Polio, leaves you wondering how she ever survived – let alone grow up to be a celebrated author and Paralympian athlete.
Despite these setbacks and contending with prejudice, her disability, and a military coup and the loss of her mother, Anne achieved fantastic academic results. She went to university, qualified as a teacher and moved to make a new life in Britain. On becoming a British citizen she joined Team GB and became a torch bearer for the Paralympian team, an author, role model and inspiration for a new generation of women and for her many admirers in The British Polio Fellowship, which led to Anne accepting the role of an ambassador with the charity – a role she has excelled at.
Anne’s tireless work for The British Polio Fellowship will continue this year with events surrounding the Commonwealth Games and a number of other charitable projects in connection with engaging in further activities on behalf of The British Polio Fellowship, which will be announced in due course.
“As this is our 75th Anniversary year, Anne has been spearheading a lot of initiatives on our behalf,” added Ted. “The Rotary conferences in London and Sydney and our roadshow in Heathrow was just the start of the journey. We have many more exciting projects in the pipeline Anne’s is helping us with, but more news on those in the weeks ahead. Needless to say, with Anne’s involvement, they are going to be inspirational, original and helping to put PPS on the map like never before.”
The British Polio Fellowship is a charity dedicated to helping, supporting and empowering those in the UK living with the effects of Polio and PPS. For more details or information on The British Polio Fellowship, call us on 0800 043 1935, email at email@example.com or visit the website at www.britishpolio.org.uk