Martin McElhatton, head of WheelPower, has been recognised in the Queen’s New Years Honours list with an OBE for ‘Services to Disability Sport.’
He has worked for the disability charity at Stoke Mandeville for over 30 years and has now been acknowledged for his work.
A Bucks Herald report explains how McElhatton was paralysed in a road traffic accident in 1979 and following rehabilitation at the National Spinal Injuries Centre, Stoke Mandeville, took up wheelchair basketball, initially at club level and then progressing to play for Great Britain.
Mr McElhatton joined WheelPower in 1987 and has been leading the organisation for the past 22 years.
He told the local news source: “It is a huge honour to receive an OBE and I am so proud of the work we have achieved here at WheelPower to give thousands of disabled people the joy of playing sport and seeing how it can positively impact their lives.
“I would like to thank everyone who has supported me throughout the last 30 plus years including my family, friends, colleagues and all the amazing people who have let me be part of their sporting journey.”
Martin has been involved in wheelchair sport for over 30 years including voluntary roles within wheelchair tennis at national and international level, local sport within Buckinghamshire as well as his professional life as Chief Executive of WheelPower at Stoke Mandeville Stadium where he has worked for 30 years.
Martin was honoured to be a London 2012 Paralympic Torch Bearer and in 2013 received the prestigious Brad Parks Award for services to international wheelchair tennis.
He has extensive knowledge of the voluntary sports sector in particular disability sport and health sector through disability sport and Spinal Units having lived with a spinal injury for almost 40 years.
His previous role in PR and as spokesperson for WheelPower have given him a wide local, national and international presentation experience.
Martin has managed WheelPower for 20 years including the £10.2 million redevelopment of Stoke Mandeville Stadium. Since the facilities reopened Martin has been responsible for the management of the contract for operational management of the Stadium.
A spokesman for Wheelpower added: “Martin is steeped in the heritage of the Paralympics and its links to Stoke Mandeville and helped establish the National Paralympic Heritage Trust, of which he is a Trustee, and the new National Paralympic Heritage Centre which sits within the Stadium complex.
Mr McElhatton is also a great supporter of community sport in Buckinghamshire and has served as a Board Member for Leap, the Active Partnership for Buckinghamshire and Milton Keynes for over nine years.