Polio ambassador, Judith Diment, has been recognised for her charity work by being awarded an MBE in the New Year’s Honours List.
Judith, who is a member of Maidenhead Thames Rotary, serves on Rotary International’s PolioPlus Committee, and Rotary’s representative to the Commonwealth of Nations.
Michel Zaffran, Director of Polio Eradication with the World Health Organisation, took to social media to offer his delight at the award. “Highly deserved. Can’t think of anyone who deserves it more. What a way to close 2019. Most sincere congratulations,” he wrote.
Judith ran an independent award-winning Thames Valley public relations consultancy and has held senior positions in marketing and communications for over 30 years.
Her involvement with community work includes working for Thames Hospice Care fundraising, the Rivertime Boat Trust, the Cookham Festival, as well as the Stanley Spencer Gallery.
Judith was Rotary District Governor for the Thames Valley area (District 1090) in 2012-13, but since 2013 she has been Chairman of Rotary International Global Polio Eradication Advocacy Task Force, and the UK’s National Advocacy Adviser for Polio since 2010.
I am indebted to the advocacy staff of the partners of the Global Polio Eradication Initiative and look forward to continuing our work to end polio.”
In 2013, the Berkshire-based Rotarian was appointed as Rotary International’s Representative to the Commonwealth and in July 2015 she was appointed to the Rotary International PolioPlus Committee.
Judith’s work around polio has been central to the award. In February 2008, she arranged a projection of the End Polio Now logo onto the House of Commons, and it was following this, Rotary International adopted the phrase End Polio Now for promoting the polio eradication globally.
A former councillor for the Royal Borough of Windsor & Maidenhead, Judith’s other key Rotary interest is modern slavery, and in 2014 she was elected to the Board of the Rotary Action Group Against Slavery.
Read more from Judith on polio
Back in June, Judith wrote a special article for Rotary magazine about what is required in the final push to end polio.
Judith said she was surprised and honoured to receive the MBE.
She said: “I have been privileged to work with many wonderful people both locally in Maidenhead and Cookham and Rotary clubs throughout the Thames Valley, as well as nationally and internationally, with many Rotary projects and especially with the amazing front line polio women health workers and Rotarians in Delhi and Pakistan.
“I am also indebted to the advocacy staff of the partners of the Global Polio Eradication Initiative and look forward to continuing our work to end polio.
“I would like to thank my many friends in Rotary, and acknowledge the support of my late husband Tony, and my son Robert.”
Another Rotarian in District 1090 to be honoured was Marlow Rotary’s John Chapman who, like Judith, is also a former District Governor.
John was awarded an MBE for services to the community in the Buckinghamshire town. He is a prominent member of the town’s rowing community and is President of the Marlow Regatta.
John has also been President of the Marlow Royal British Legion and actively involved with the town branch of Age Concern.
Another Rotarian recognised in the New Year’s Honours is Bill Tomlinson, who has been awarded a British Empire Medal.
Bill has been a member of Derby Rotary for 41 years, and he has been granted the honour because of his work with the Derbyshire Children’s Holiday Centre in Skegness.
Bill said he was “extremely honoured” and that he would continue to work hard for both the Derbyshire Children’s Holiday Centre and the Derby Rotary.
Martin McElhatton, chief executive of the charity WheelPower which has forged very close links with Rotary, was awarded a OBE.
It is a huge honour to receive an OBE and I am so proud of the work we have achieved here at WheelPower.”
Martin, who is a Paul Harris Fellow to recognise the partnership work with Rotary, has worked for WheelPower for over 30 years after being paralysed in a road traffic accident in 1979.
A wheelchair basketball player, Martin joined the charity, which is based at Stoke Mandeville Hospital, in 1987.
Delighted that @wheelpower Chief Executive Martin McElhatton has been awarded an OBE in the Queen’s New Year’s Honours List for Services to Disability Sport. Martin has worked for WheelPower for over 30 years, leading it for 22 #NYHonours @WheelPower_CEOhttps://t.co/lg64eqQo54 pic.twitter.com/VokM3G9oeq
— WheelPower (@wheelpower) December 27, 2019
Martin told the Luton News that he is committed to helping young and newly disabled people to play and enjoy sport and lead active lives.
He said: “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.”