Coinciding with International Day for Persons with disabilities, last week saw the launch of Powerful Media’s 2017 Power 100. The publication celebrates 100 of Britain’s most influential people who have a disability or impairment. The list ranges from politicians to percussionists to partners at international professional services firms and beyond. It is produced as a role model guide for young people and will be distributed to schools.
The publication was sponsored by The Shaw Trust, whose Chief executive Roy O’Shaughnessy said,
“Shaw Trust is delighted to sponsor and celebrate the Power 100 List 2017, […] Congratulations to everyone. Every year, I am overwhelmed by the achievements of these inspirational individuals and I am buoyed by the positive impact this publication has had on our society since its inception three years ago.
“This list plays a vital role in providing much needed encouragement to the young and talented leaders of tomorrow, allowing them to see that aspiration and ambition can be fulfilled regardless of disability or impairment.”
To find out more about the Shaw Trust, please click here.
Lloyds Banking Group were also involved in sponsoring the publication launch. Lloyds Banking Group is committed to providing accessible careers for those with disabilities. To learn how, please click here.
LBG’s David Oldfield, Group Director, Retail and Consumer Finance, commented on the launch,
“I am delighted that Lloyds Banking Group once again has the opportunity to celebrate the success of Britain’s most influential people with a disability or impairment.
“At Lloyds banking group we strive to continually improve the experience for our disabled colleagues and customers. As group executive sponsor for Disability, I’m proud that we’ve been recognised as a leading employer and continue to work to have market leading practices for customers.
“Lloyds banking group recognises the importance of having strong role models to aspire to. Through acknowledging the talents and achievements of the most accomplished people in Britain with a disability or an impairment, I know the Power 100 will again provide inspiration to the young and talented leaders of tomorrow.”
The judging panel consisted of Tanni Grey-Thompson (Chair), Dom Hyams, Katherine Deal, Gemma Hope and Clare Grey.
The Top 10
Claiming the top spot on the list was Dame Sarah Storey, British road and tack racing cyclist and former swimmer. She was recognised for her fantastic contribution to both able-bodied and Paralympic sports. She is the most decorated female Paralympian in Great Britain’s history, having won 14 gold, eight silver and three bronze medals across seven Paralympic games in a career spanning more than 20 years. She has been acclaimed for many accreditations including, 27-time World champion, topping the London 2012 Paralympics medal table with four golds, and holding 72 world records.
Blogger, presenter and journalist, Martyn Sibley came 3rd in the list for his work reporting on important issues such as “independent living”, “assistive technology”, “accessible travel”, and “disability in the media”. Sibley has spinal muscular atrophy (SMA), a genetic disease that causes muscle weakness and progressive loss of movement. He also co-founded Disability Horizons and Accomable, which enable accessible travel booking and accommodation for disabled persons. Sibley aims to inspire, inform and change the world around disability issues.
Henry Fraser Mouth Art
With sports being so instrumental in raising awareness of disability issues this year, in seventh place was ex-rugby player, mouth artist and motivational speaker, Henry Fraser. Fraser’s life was changed when an accident left him paralysed from the neck down. Fraser regularly gives motivational speeches to sports associations and his most recent art exhibition was a star-studded event. He also officially opened Saracens RFC’s new Allianz Park stadium, and was awarded the Blyth Spirit Award 2016 by the Rugby Players’ Association in association with England Rugby.
Former Captain in the British Army and the BBC’s full-time Security Correspondent, Frank Gardner came ninth on the Power 100 list for his work in journalism after being shot six times in the leg and lower back whilst on an assignment in Saudi Arabia. The attempted assassination killed Gardner’s cameraman, Simon Cumbers and left him paralysed from the waist down.
It took 14 operations and several months in hospital before he could return to reporting for the BBC. He now reports using a wheelchair or frame. Gardner is also the author of two bestselling books, Blood and Sand, and Far Horizons.
Alex Booker once again claimed a place in the top 10 coming second in this year for his work on The Last Leg. Liz Sayce OBE, Dame Evelyn Glennie and Ade Adepitan came fourth, fifth and sixth respectively for their work in raising awareness of disability through charity, music and sport. Andrew Marr was recognised for his continuing broadcasting success after a severe stroke in January 2013. Baroness Celia Thomas of Winchester claimed tenth place in the list for her political influence and campaigning for disability rights.
Notable winners in the Arts, Fashion & Design category were Ruth Madeley, Sophie Morgan and Penny Pepper. Ruth Madeley was listed for her portrayal of a disabled mother fighting to keep her baby in BBC3’s Don’t Take My Baby for which she was nominated for a Leading Actress BAFTA award. Since then, she has gone on to star in a major ITV series The Level, where disability is not the focus, which she sees as a milestones for the industry’s representation of disabled people.
A car accident left Sophie Morgan paralysed at the age of 18, however, she has gone on to become a celebrated artist and designer, as well as TV personality. She has starred in various reality TV programmes, including BBC’s Beyond Boundaries, and presented the Paralympic Games in both 2012 and 2016. She was named Ultimate Campaigner of the Year in Cosmopolitan’s Ultimate Women Awards in 2013 for her work as consultant for charities Scope and Back up.
Penny Pepper is also an active campaigner for disability rights and has written many thought-provoking books, memoirs, poems and plays, which have been performed across the country, including at Soho theatre. She has also achieved high-profile TV slots on programmes with Sky and BBC.
In the Business, Finance & IT sector recognition was given to Dr Stephen Duckworth OBE from Capita for his work as Chairman of the Rehabilitation International World Congress (RIWC) Programme Board. The three-day Congress is hosted by disability employment charity Shaw Trust, and seeks to influence disability and inclusion policy at a global level by delivering speeches, workshops and plenaries to delegates from 60 countries.
Recognition was also given to Gary McFarlane, Jeff McWhinney and Simon Minty for their creation of various systems to improve accessibility for disabled people. Gary McFarlane co-founded Assist-Mi, an app offering comprehensive assistance to disabled users on the go. It works by connecting the user directly with service providers to request real-time assistance at the touch of a button. Jeff McWhinney founded SignVideo, a Video Relay Services and Video Remote Interpreting provider which provides British Sign Language (BSL) video interpreting services to enable communication between the community of over 150,000 deaf BSL users in the UK and hearing people. Also listed was Simon Minty for his work as a Director of Sminty Ltd, a disability training and consultancy company. He works with organisations such as the BBC, Barclays, British Council, Buckingham Palace, Environment Agency, EY, Lloyds, Motability Operations and Nationwide.
Being awarded recognition for their contribution to the Entertainment industry was, among others, Warwick Davies and Francesca Martinez. Warwick Davies has long been a popular personality in the entertainment industry and has been recognised for his work for disabled people. Davies recently became the first person with a disability to regularly host a primetime show when he presented Celebrity Squares on ITV, and is currently fronting Tenable, a new quiz on ITV based around top 10 lists. Comedian Francesca Martinez was also listed for her work campaigning for disability rights including her recent collaboration with Network Rail to launch a new campaign to make travel by rail more accessible.
From within Politics and Law, Baroness Jane Campbell and Paul Maynard were listed. Baroness Jane Campbell is an active Independent Crossbench Peer, and Co-Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Disability Group with Anne McGuire MP, she has been recognised for her work campaigning for disabled people’s civic and human rights. Paul Maynard was listed for his active role in improving accessibility of apprenticeships for people with learning disabilities, producing a list of recommendations to be reviewed by The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) and Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) for future consideration.
From Remploy, Beth Carruthers was also listed for her work within the Education, Public & Third Sector. Carruthers is CEO of Remploy, the non-departmental public body which delivers a range of disability employment support services in the welfare to work, skills, education and social care markets.
Peter White was recognised in the Media & Publishing industry for his work as the BBC’s Disability Affairs Correspondent, a title he has held since 1995. White was the first totally blind person to produce reports for television news and is an active advocate for the visually impaired. Other influential people listed were Alison Walsh, disability lead at BBC and previously Channel 4 Disability Executive; Rebecca Atkinson and Cerrie Burnell for their work in improving the lives of disabled children.
Power 100’s editor, Katharine Deal commented:
“This year has been a historical one for disability, having particularly seen disability sporting achievements highlighted on a global scale. With the success of the British Paralympic team coming second overall with a total of 147 medals in Rio, there has been a lot of positive public acknowledgement for the abilities of our disabled countrymen.
“Possibly less celebrated, but of great importance, has been some major political successes within a very shaky political climate in which disabled people have been a prime cost-cutting target. […] We, however, must not forget the achievements of those not in sport; the continual rise of those working in the third sector, law, entertainment and the arts is a testament to the waves that disabled people are making in all arenas.
“We see year on year that judging this list is getting harder and harder, and that is a great thing.
“The new names that have entered the list are incredibly strong and we have particularly seen some very young people coming in with great influence which is especially thrilling. […] there is a particular sense of unity, togetherness and a collective push to making life better for other disabled people living in the UK and the rest of the world.”
For more information and the full Power 100 list, please click here.
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