Recog­ni­tion is down to all those who help me, says in­spi­ra­tional cam­paigner

Rochdale Observer - - NEW YEAR HONOURS 2019 - [email protected]­plc.com @RochdaleNews

NEWLY hon­oured Mem­ber of the Bri­tish Em­pire An­drew Walker, says the recog­ni­tion he has re­ceived for his tire­less work for the dis­abled is all down the those who sup­port him.

An­drew, of Mil­nrow, was 28 when he be­came paral­ysed from the neck down after a swim­ming ac­ci­dent in In­dia.

An­drew, 41, said: “I was what you might say ‘liv­ing the dream’.

“I was am­bi­tious, suc­cess­ful and was trav­el­ling the world.

“I re­mem­ber sit­ting on a rock look­ing on to the shore of a beach in Goa think­ing ‘what could pos­si­bly go wrong?’”.

He said he had al­ways been an ac­tive, fun lov­ing ‘jack the lad’ char­ac­ter.

Later that day An­drew, who is known widely in Rochdale by his nick­name ‘Wack’, was paral­ysed from the neck down after al­most drown­ing, hav­ing hit a rock while div­ing into a seem­ingly clear sea.

De­spite his hor­rific phys­i­cal in­juries he has forged a full life in the past 13 years, en­joy­ing sail­ing, moun­tain bik­ing, ski­ing and char­ity runs, all mo­bilised from an elec­tric chair which An­drew con­trols with his chin.

He said: “Fol­low­ing my ac­ci­dent I re­alised I needed to adapt to a new way of life, ac­cept new chal­lenges and set my­self new goals.

“I had ab­so­lute con­vic­tion and de­ter­mi­na­tion to lead as full and re­ward­ing a life as I had prior to that life chang­ing mo­ment.”

An­drew, who prior to his ac­ci­dent worked as a con­struc­tion en­gi­neer and worked on the build­ing of the Traf­ford Cen­tre, serves as a lead mem­ber of the Dis­abil­ity Ref­er­ence Group for Trans­port For Greater Manch­ester.

His busi­ness con­sul­tancy called Liv­ing The Dream, vis­its schools, col­leges and other groups in a bid to aim to in­spire peo­ple to think about their life choices.

He said: “I hope to en­cour­age them to grasp their op­por­tu­ni­ties re­gard­less of the ob­sta­cles, chal­lenge their per­cep­tions of dis­abil­ity and ul­ti­mately open up their minds to what they can achieve in their lives.”

Now his work has been recog­nised with an MBE but the no­ti­fi­ca­tion from Buck­ing­ham Palace was nearly left un­opened.

“When I saw the let­ter I thought it was a bill and wasn’t go­ing to open it un­til the New Year,” An­drew said. “One of my car­ers Ray must have had an idea though be­cause he opened it and read it out while stand­ing to at­ten­tion.

“I love the say­ing ‘only team­work can make your dream work’ and that’s true for me.

“The hon­our is all for my fam­ily, my friends, my 11 god­chil­dren and the med­i­cal pro­fes­sion­als who have helped me.”

●●An­drew with Prince Philip

●●In­spi­ra­tional speaker An­drew has a busi­ness con­sul­tancy which en­cour­ages peo­ple to grab op­por­tu­ni­ties what­ever their cir­cum­stances

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.