The 75th Anniversary year of The British Polio Fellowship has got off to a winning start, as two of the charity’s members are celebrating recognition in The Queen’s New Year Honours List.
Michael Griffiths, 57, of Southport, Merseyside has been awarded the British Empire Medal (BEM) while Malcolm Kielty, 63 of Lightcliffe in Halifax was made a Member of the British Empire (MBE). Both Michael and Malcolm are two of several unsung heroes to feature in the New Year’s honours list for charitable service to their communities.
“It’s great news that Michael and Malcolm have been honoured in this way. Both rewards are richly deserved for two men who have given so much not just to charity but to the wider communities in which they live,” said Ted Hill MBE, CEO of The British Polio Fellowship. “Both have made an immeasurable contribution by volunteering for years and for their great work with young people.”
Malcolm contracted Polio when he was 16 and given that rugby ran in his family (his dad Stan is in Halifax Rugby League Club’s hall of fame, having played more than 480 games), dedicated much of his life to wheelchair rugby league and was instrumental in bringing the sport to the UK and introducing thousands of disabled people to sport as a consequence.
On the other side of the country, Michael has been involved with the North West branch of The British Polio Fellowship for over 12 years and chair for the past 5 years. During his time he has highlighted not just the charity, but the needs of members living with Polio and Post Polio Syndrome (PPS), being proactive in raising members concerns over the introduction of Personal Independence Payments with MPs and ministers and was honoured specifically for his services on the charity’s behalf.
“I am really honoured and really pleased to get the BEM,” said Michael when reflecting on the news. “I am particularly glad because the BEM is the working man’s medal. It is great too, because it brings recognition to The British Polio Fellowship, giving the charity more publicity.”
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. It provides information, advocacy, welfare and support to enable its members to live full independent and integrated lives and works to develop worldwide alliances with other Polio and Post Polio groups for the mutual benefit of its members. It is thought that around 120,000 people in the UK are living with the effects of Polio or PPS today.
“When I got the letter I was pretty stunned, but I am delighted,” said Malcolm Kielty. “These awards don’t happen in isolation and many people will share my aspirations. Wheelchair Rugby League is still in its infancy, now it is a matter of helping it to grow. I come from a family with a rugby league background and we don’t get carried away. There’s plenty to keep my wheels firmly on the ground.”
The New Year Honours lists recognise the achievements and service of extraordinary people like Michael and Malcolm from across the United Kingdom and while ‘stars and celebrities’ feature, 74% of this year’s recipients are people who have undertaken and continue to undertake outstanding work in their communities.
“2014 is now set fair to be the biggest year in the charity’s long history and our members being honoured in this way is a welcome start to a year of remembrance and celebration,” added Ted. “I hope. Many of our members up and down the country do amazing work and it is very welcome to see this being formerly recognised.”
For more details please contact The British Polio Fellowship on 0800 043 1935, by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit the new website at www.britishpolio.org.uk.