A PROFOUNDLY deaf civil servant who teaches disabled people to sail in his spare time has been honoured with an MBE.
Simon Terry, 36, of Cliftonville Road, St Leonards, was given the award in the Queen’s New Year’s Honours List announced last week, and although he was told in November, he is still reeling from the shock.
“It was a complete surprise. – it’s the kind of thing I would never even think about,” he told the Observer. “I was not allowed to tell anybody so only my family knew until this week. Everyone was really pleased for me and I have had lots of letters and phone calls.
“I am so proud that someone has recognised my hard work, but I am a big believer in team work and I would not be where I am today without the people around me and especially the support from my family.”
Mr Terry, who lives with his wife Anna and their young son Lucas, has worked for the Child Support Agency here in 1066 Country for 14 years. He has risen to the role of service team leader and has advised the agency on national projects. He has been invited to speak to an East Sussex County Council careers event for disabled people to share his experiences and talk about overcoming deafness in the work place.
On his days off, Mr Terry is often to be found on the water, as he is a keen amateur sailor and he has passed on his passion to disabled youngsters through the Sussex Sailability club.
“The thing for me is that I am quite a confident person and I was brought up to believe I can do anything. I have had that feeling all my life so I want to help other people, and show them that they can do anything. Some people with disabilities need a little push to get that confidence and sailing is a great way to do that.”
Robin Lulham, CSA area manager, said: “Simon has been a valuable asset to the agency for many years now. Indeed, such is the depth of his expertise that his contributions have extended into national projects, benefiting children throughout Great Britain. He is a tremendous role model and a highly effective team member and the award of an MBE is richly deserved.”
Mr Terry does not yet know when he will be invited to the palace to collect his award, and said: “It will have to be a day which doesn’t clash with anything – there’s a Royal Wedding this year after all!”