A DISABILITY sport pioneer from Crewe has been given an MBE in the New Year’s honours list.
Jane Whetnall, co-founder of the Cheshire Academy of Integrated Sports and Arts, said she was ‘surprised and delighted’ with the honour, which she dedicated to all the staff at the Macon Way institution.
But the 57-year-old admitted to being a little nervous when an official looking enveloped landed on doormat five weeks ago.
“I thought: oh no, what’s this? I haven’t been speeding have I’?”
But unpeeling the letter, Jane realised she was among the worthy few who make the Monarch’s list each year.
“I was very, very pleased. I had absolutely no idea that someone had nominated me, and I still don’t know who did.
“My family is as thrilled as I am. What’s nice is that this is recognition for everyone at the academy. It recognises all the staff’s hard work over the years.”
The foundations of the charity were laid when Jane’s daughter, Vicky Perez, was in an accident.
“It was when she was quite young. She had been very sporty and there wasn’t really anything around back then that she could get involved in.
“The Paralympics and disability sports have far better coverage now than they used to, and I wanted to set something up of real quality.
“We use sport as tool for teaching life skills. If, for example, a child is in a football match but refuses to pass the ball, there’s in an opportunity to teach them about inclusivity.”
Now in its 20th year as charity, the academy boasts many world champion special Olympians.