Sunday, 21 April 2024
Sunday, 21 April 2024

Muscular Dystrophy UK Honors Outstanding Contributions with President’s Awards

MUSCULAR Dystrophy UK reveals the winners of the Muscular Dystrophy UK President’s Awards in association with Airnow Technology.

The ceremony hosted by the charity’s President, Gabby Logan MBE, took place recently, at the Salesforce Tower in the heart of the City of London, seeing the return of an in-person event since the pandemic.

The awards recognise heroes within the muscle-wasting and weakening community who have gone above and beyond the call of duty to make a difference.

There were six awards in total, recognising success in fundraising, caring, volunteering, community engagement and research, as well as an outstanding achievement award. Four award recipients were nominated by staff and the remaining based on external votes. All were shortlisted by a judging panel made up of the charity’s trustees.

Gabby Logan said:

“It’s always such a pleasure hosting the Muscular Dystrophy UK President’s Awards, which celebrates the strength and diversity of our fantastic muscle-wasting and weakening community. We’re consistently blown away by the dedication and selflessness of people. The awards recognise those outstanding people doing remarkable things to help make a difference. Congratulations to all of our winners.”

Muscular Dystrophy UK’s Chief Executive, Catherine Woodhead, said:

“Congratulations to everyone for winning one of Muscular Dystrophy UK President’s Awards. We received lots of strong nominations – making the judging process harder than ever. Our deepest thanks to our President, Gabby Logan, for presenting the awards to our worthy winners at the fantastic event. It was a beautiful evening and lovely to be able to recognise people who give their all to making a difference for those living with a muscle wasting and weakening condition.”

Here are the winners:

Early Career Scientist of the Year 

  • Winner – Meredith James
  • Highly commended – Valeria Di Leo

Alexander and Valerie Patrick Award for Carer of the Year

  • Winner – William Jackson
  • Highly commended – Caroline Leigh

Richard Attenborough Award for Outstanding Achievement

  • Winner – Professor Francesco Muntoni
  • Highly commended – Ann Hughes and Louise Halling

Volunteer of the Year

  • Winner – Amanda Hayes
  • Highly commended – Sid Keyte

Peter and Nancy Andrews Community Achievement Award

  • Winner – Bryan Gould
  • Highly commended – Cerys Davage and Jason Croucher

Fundraiser of the Year

  • Winner – Jed Thirkettle
  • Highly commended – Andy Davies and David Salt
Muscular Dystrophy UK Honors Outstanding Contributions with President’s Awards
William Jackson. Photograph credit: Muscular Dystrophy UK/Teri Pengilley.

William Jackson – Alexander and Valerie Patrick Award for Carer of the Year

A young man from Spennymoor, Durham, has received a prestigious charity award in recognition of his impressive care over the past year for his younger brother, who lives with a muscle-wasting condition.

A year-11 student, at Whitworth Park Academy, William Jackson, 16, received one of six President’s Awards from Muscular Dystrophy UK, the leading charity for more than 110,000 children and adults in the UK living with one of over 60 muscle wasting and weakening conditions.

William won the Alexander and Valerie Patrick Award for Carer of the Year at the Muscular Dystrophy UK President’s Awards in association with Airnow Technology.

William described as ‘funny, caring, charming and super bright’ has selflessly taken on the role of providing care and support for his younger brother Louis, 12, who was diagnosed with Duchenne muscular dystrophy. An avid fundraiser William has also taken part in charity fundraising initiatives such as Bake a Difference and Go Bright.

After receiving the Alexander and Valerie Patrick Award for Carer of the Year William said:

“It was fantastic to receive this award. Caring for my younger brother has really brought us together and helped to build our bond. As an older brother, I feel like it’s my duty and just becomes part of my everyday life.”

Amanda Hayes – Volunteer of the Year

A woman from Canterbury, Kent, has received a prestigious charity award in recognition of her impressive attitude to support people living with the same condition over the past year.

Amanda Hayes, 58, received one of six President’s Awards from Muscular Dystrophy UK, the leading charity for more than 110,000 children and adults in the UK living with one of over 60 muscle wasting and weakening conditions.

Amanda won the VoIunteer of the Year award at the Muscular Dystrophy UK President’s Awards in association with Airnow Technology.

Amanda was diagnosed with myasthenia gravis in 1992, aged 26. After receiving valuable support from the charity’s free helpline, Amanda wanted to give something back. She is described as a ‘superstar volunteer’ and passionately raises the profile of the charity by running online support groups, being a peer-to-peer volunteer, to acting as a patient expert voice to help gain better access to treatments.

After receiving the Volunteer of the Year Amanda said:

“Absolutely amazing I really didn’t expect to receive the award. I was honoured to be invited to enjoy the experience but was truly touched to actually receive it. Having been diagnosed in my 20s to now being nearly 60, I feel that I can relate to people of all ages at all different stages of their myasthenia gravis journey. My volunteering purpose is to help as many people as I can – even if I just help one then I have succeeded.”

Jed Thirkettle – Fundraiser of the Year

A man from Hemel Hempstead, Hertfordshire, has received a prestigious charity award in recognition of his fundraising mission over the past year raising funds to support life-changing research.

Jed Thirkettle, 24, received one of six President’s Awards from Muscular Dystrophy UK, the leading charity for more than 110,000 children and adults in the UK living with one of over 60 muscle wasting and weakening conditions.

Jed won the award for Fundraiser of the Year at the Muscular Dystrophy UK President’s Awards in association with Airnow Technology.

Jed is an inspirational fundraiser whose connection to the charity and fundraising goes back to his childhood, after being diagnosed with Ullrich congenital muscular dystrophy at age 8.

His family were told he would be unlikely to live past 20 years old. Jed recently completed a 24-hour gym workout to mark his 24 birthday and raised almost £20,000. In total, he’s helped raise over £200,000 through the family fundraising fund ‘Team Jed’ to support Muscular Dystrophy UK.

After receiving the Fundraiser of the Year award Jed said:

“I was grateful and honoured to not only be nominated but to actually win the award amongst so many fantastic fundraisers. However, I’m very much standing on the shoulders of giants after my parents Donna and Michael set up ‘Team Jed’ when I was first diagnosed. So, this award is for them for setting an example for myself and fellow fundraisers to aspire towards.”

Muscular Dystrophy UK Honors Outstanding Contributions with President’s Awards
Meredith James. Photograph credit: Muscular Dystrophy UK/Teri Pengilley.

Meredith James – Early Career Scientist of the Year

A PhD student and physiotherapist from Newcastle has received a prestigious charity award in recognition of her considerable influence in muscular dystrophy research over the past year.

Meredith James received one of six President’s Awards from Muscular Dystrophy UK, the leading charity for more than 110,000 children and adults in the UK living with one of over 60 muscle wasting and weakening conditions.

Meredith, originally from Australia, and now works at John Walton Muscular Dystrophy Research Centre, Newcastle, won the Early Career Scientist of the Year award at the Muscular Dystrophy UK President’s Awards in association with Airnow Technology.

Having completed her PhD last year at Newcastle University Meredith has made exceptional progress and has had considerable influence on the limb girdle muscular dystrophy field and beyond. The result findings are currently being used in 12 clinical trials across five individual conditions.

After receiving the Early Career Scientist of the Year Meredith said:

“It’s an honour and privilege to win this award from Muscular Dystrophy UK. The charity does amazing work to support individuals living with neuromuscular conditions and funds innovative research furthering our understanding of these conditions.”

Muscular Dystrophy UK Honors Outstanding Contributions with President’s Awards
Prof Francesco Muntoni. Photograph credit: Muscular Dystrophy UK/Teri Pengilley.

Professor Francesco Muntoni – Richard Attenborough Award for Outstanding Achievement

A Professor from London has received a prestigious charity award in recognition of his undisputed expertise in the muscle-wasting and weakening community over the past year.

Professor Francesco Muntoni, a world-renowned physician, received one of six President’s Awards from Muscular Dystrophy UK, the leading charity for more than 110,000 children and adults in the UK living with one of over 60 muscle wasting and weakening conditions.

Professor Muntoni won the Richard Attenborough Award for Outstanding Achievement at the Muscular Dystrophy UK President’s Awards in association with Airnow Technology.

Professor Muntoni is a Paediatric Neurologist and Director of the Dubowitz Neuromuscular Centre, at UCL Institute of Neurology and of Child Health at Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children, in London. Having made incredible contributions to the lives of many families within the muscle-wasting and weakening community either directly through his clinic or indirectly through the hope his research brings to people. His work is at the forefront of delivering improved lives for those children living with conditions like Duchenne, myotubular myopathy, SMA and many other congenital myopathies and muscular dystrophies. 

After receiving the Richard Attenborough Award for Outstanding Achievement, from Michael Attenborough CBE, who is a long-term supporter of the charity, along with his wife Karen, after hearing about the charity from his late father Lord Richard Attenborough.

Professor Muntoni said:

“I feel privileged about the long-standing collaboration with Muscular Dystrophy UK amongst other things. This has allowed us to work together and establish the national network NorthStar caring for people living with Duchenne muscular dystrophy, which now represents the largest network for this condition in the world. This has led to many original discoveries into the condition and allowed us to work together with other UK centres.”

For more information on Muscular Dystrophy UK President’s Awards winners please visit: musculardystrophyuk.org/PresidentsAwards.

For more information or to help support their work, visit: musculardystrophyuk.org or call their free helpline on 0800 652 6352 (Mon – Thurs 10am – 2pm).

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