A DISABLED charity champion from St Leonards who raised £10million for people with spinal injuries has been presented with an MBE by the Queen.
John Fieldus, 69, was one of the guests of honour at Buckingham Palace to receive his investiture recently.
“It was a very humbling experience,” he said. “I was just so humbled by the magnitude of it all.”
John broke his neck after diving off a breakwater while out for an evening swim with his children in July 1982.
He was left paralysed from the waist down and spent seven months in hospital in Worthing where he was supported by the Spinal Injuries Association (SIA).
When he came out, and was unable to resume his former job as a wine merchant, he decided to use his professional skills for the good of the SIA.
Since then he has helped the organisation raise millions of pounds, including leading the campaign to raise £2million for the SIA’s state-of-the-art headquarters in Milton Keynes which were completed just three years after the appeal was launched.
A series of high-profile dinners have also been huge money-spinners and he spent four years with the Racing Welfare Charity between 1997 and 2001.
John retired from full-time fundraising during the summer but still plans to help his wife Pamela raise money for the McCartney Unit at the Conquest Hospital. Pamela was also in attendance at the Palace along with the couple’s three sons.
John said: “The Queen chatted to me for a while and asked about the work I had done.
“I told her I had worked with her daughter the Princess Royal who is the patron of the charity.
“I had done a lot of work with the Injured Jockeys Fund and The Queen does like horses.
“It was just the most awe-inspiring experience, which I will never forget.”