Sunderland man recognised by British Citizen Awards

Sunderland man recognised by British Citizen Awards

A Sunderland resident, known for launching the world famous International Wheelchair Day has been recognised by the British Citizen Awards. Steve Wilkinson, who lives at Gildacre Fields in Southwick has received a certificate of recognition from the awards, which are supported by Sarah Ferguson, Duchess of York, TV Presenter Bradley Walsh and Dame Mary Perkins - co-founder of Specsavers.

Steve, known by his neighbours at the Housing & Care 21 property as ‘WheelchairSteve’, was born with Spina Bifida and has spent most of his life in a wheelchair.

He was recognised by the British Citizen Awards for his work celebrating the positive impact that wheelchairs can have on peoples’ lives, notably through the launch of International Wheelchair Day, which is celebrated worldwide every year on 1 March.

International Wheelchair Day has been running for ten years and events and activities have taken place in Australia, Nepal, Senegal, South Africa, Bangladesh, Pakistan, the UK and the US. Steve launched International Wheelchair Day to celebrate the freedom that wheelchairs give users, but also as a way of acknowledging the many tens of millions of people in the world who need a wheelchair, but are unable to acquire one.

The British Citizen Awards are open to every UK citizen and serve to recognise exceptional endeavour in business, healthcare, arts, community or education.

Steve said: “I am honoured to have been recognised for my work. My true passion is to make the world more accessible for fellow wheelchair users and others who have mobility issues. This Certificate of Recognition will provide me with increased credibility as I continue to raise awareness.”

A spokesperson for the British Citizen Awards said: “Each year only a limited number of British Citizen Award Medals are presented, and whilst on this occasion Steve was not selected for a Medal, he was selected by the assessment panel for a Certificate of Recognition.

“Steve’s achievement in being nominated for the positive impact and actions he has on society is worthy of recognition and note. It is activities such as Steve’s which makes life in UK communities so much better for many and Steve should be justifiably proud of being nominated for a British Citizen Award.”