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Championing disabled athletes

468. Hilary White

A disability sports champion has spent over three decades giving thousands of people with disabilities across the Bradford area the opportunity to get involved in sport.

Hilary White was a founding member of Bradford Disability Sport & Leisure (BDSL) in 1986 and has been the driving force behind the organisation ever since. Thanks to her tireless fundraising and leadership Hilary has grown the charity from 50 members to now support over 400 people with disabilities across the region to achieve their sporting goals. From bowling and cycling for fun, to competing in the Special Olympic Games in Los Angeles.

BDSL was founded on the belief that everybody should have the opportunity to participate in sport and active leisure whatever their ability and is dedicated to improving access to sport and physical activity for all disabled people within Bradford. The organisation started with inclusive Monday exercise sessions at the Richard Dunn Sports Centre and has gone on to raise millions of pounds and create a huge range of clubs and facilities in the area. In 2014 Olympic Champion Sir Chris Hoy opened a new cycle track it created.

As Chairman of BDSL Hilary is still actively involved in the running of BDSL and unites the team of volunteers that help the achieve so much. She is also still at the frontline of the activities they run, leading the Monday Club at The Richard Dunn Sports Centre and supporting weekly ten-pin bowling and boccia groups.

Throughout her time at BDSL Hilary has worked tirelessly to support as many people to get involved as possible. She organises trips for people with disabilities and their families, and set up bi-annual fundraising cycle ride to Bradford’s twin town of Hamm in Germany. Last year Hilary led the club to support three Bradford powerlifters Helen Burton, James Crossley and Chris Woodhead to attend the Special Olympic Games in Los Angeles, bringing home 11 medals between them.

Prime Minister David Cameron said:

“Hilary has dedicated three decades of her life to giving disabled people from Bradford the opportunity to get involved in sport. From bowling and cycling for fun, to competing in the Special Olympics, Hilary has raised money and led Bradford Sport and Disability to help thousands of people with disabilities achieve their goals. She thoroughly deserves recognition as the UK’s 468th Point of Light.”

Hilary said:

“It is a great honour for myself but more importantly it’s an honour for all the volunteers, athletes and the many unsung heroes we have in the association. We have been running for over 30 years and have had many successes both nationally and internationally; we are currently stronger than ever and that’s thanks to the big hearted Bradford public, local businesses and the Local Authorities. Thank you.”

Councillor Doreen Lee, Bradford Metropolitan District Council, said:

“It has been my great pleasure to work alongside Hilary for m the past 10 years .She puts us all to shame with her tireless fund raising and constant work. When working alongside her you have to be prepared for the next task or idea she will be sure to come up with even before you have finished the task in hand. If the world had a few more Hilarys in it, it would be a better place. Well done Hilary, you deserve every accolade you are given.”

The daily Points of Light award recognises outstanding individual volunteers - people who are making a change in their community.

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