A HUSBAND and wife who set up a charity for deaf children after realising their daughter’s hearing was impaired more than 30 years ago have been appointed MBEs.
David and Shirley Metherell set up the Elizabeth Foundation in 1981. The couple’s daughter, Elizabeth, was born two years earlier.
Despite her parents’ concerns, it was not until she was 22 months old that Elizabeth was officially diagnosed as profoundly deaf.
Following her diagnosis, David and Shirley took their daughter to Los Angeles to visit the John Tracy Clinic for children with hearing loss.
The Metherells knew of three other families who were going through the same experience, so set up what was meant to be a small self-help group in Portsmouth.
The charity is based close to Queen Alexandra Hospital in Cosham and is now the largest single provider of education services for pre-school deaf children in the UK.
Shirley’s expertise and leadership has already been recognised with awards including an honorary Master of Education degree from The University of Portsmouth and a civic award presented by The City of Portsmouth.
The couple have been appointed Members of the Order of the British Empire for services to people with hearing impairments and their families.