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Disabled rights champion honoured


By Gordon Simpson 

CHAMPION of disabled rights Rachel Hurst, of Hullavington, has been recognised for her work with a CBE Commander of the Order of the British Empire, a grade in the Order of the British Empire  in the New Year Honours List.

The 68-year-old director of Disability Awareness in Action was previously awarded an OBE in 1995 and received her latest honour for services to disabled people.Ms Hurst and a group of other volunteers set up DAA in 1992, with the support of various government funding.

She described it as an international disability and human rights information network, which works with disabled people in 164 countries.Ms Hurst, who herself is disabled and requires an electric wheelchair, said she was delighted with the award, but viewed it as more than a personal achievement.

I was very pleased and very honoured, but I feel it is not a personal gift, she said.The honour is really to the disability movement and disabled people throughout the world. I don't think I should be honoured as an individual for the work I do, so I am receiving it on behalf of disabled people everywhere.

She said the work of groups such as the DAA was vital, but more still needed to be done to help disabled people across the globe.

I think a lot of things have happened, which have made a lot of difference, particularly this last year with the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, she said.We were quite heavily involved with the government in trying to get that through. There has been an enormous lot of progress and great things are happening, but the actual reality for the individual on the ground is that not a lot has changed. The High Street shop is still not accessible and so on. Its lovely listening to governments saying nice things, but we have got to get them to do it.


08.01.2008

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