A volunteer who has dedicated more than two decades to the work of a leading spinal cord injury charity has said she is ‘humbled’ after receiving a national honour.
Julie Hill, from Chichester, has been given a British Citizen Award for her services to charity Back Up – an organisation that aims to inspire independence in everyone affected by spinal cord injury.
Julie, aged 55, has been hugely involved in Back Up’s work after sustaining a spinal cord injury in 1990. Her own injury was caused by a car accident which left her permanently paralysed from the waist down.
Speaking about her award, Julie said: “Back Up literally gave me my life back after my injury.
“They taught me about what I could do as opposed to what I felt I no longer could.
“The impact that their work had, not just on me but the ripple effect that had on my family and friends was immeasurable.”
Julie added: “To be able to give back and share my experiences has been very rewarding. I feel very humbled to receive this award.”
In November 2012, Julie became a Back Up mentor, and has supported more than twenty people coming to terms with life with a spinal cord injury.
The Chichester resident is one of the longest-serving volunteers at Back Up and has been involved in all aspects of the charity’s work – from being a group leader on residential courses, right up to being chair of trustee’s for five years.
More recently, Julie became a schools advocate for the charity, ensuring the full inclusion of children and young people with spinal cord injury in mainstream schools.
Julie was nominated for a BCA by Back Up course administrator, Karim Dafallah, who said: “Many people feel their life is over after a devastating spinal cord injury, but the work that Julie does on our rehabilitative courses empowers people to live as full a life as possible.
“She uses her own personal experience of spinal cord injury to help others in a similar situation to rebuild their confidence and independence.
“She is a very special volunteer and we’re so pleased that her amazing contribution to our work has earned her a BCA award.”