Dedicated teenage campaigner and double amputee are named on Shaw Trust list of influential disabled people
A WHEELCHAIR athlete with a passion for fundraising and a young disability campaigner have been named among the 100 most influential disabled people in the UK.
Cowplain’s David Williamson, who is a double amputee, feels honoured to have been chosen for this year’s Shaw Trust Power 100.
The selfless 41-year-old has raised thousands for charity, including taking on 30 marathons in 30 days for the charity LimbPower and two children with severe disabilities.
He was amazed to find out he appears on this year’s Power 100 list, alongside plenty of other amazing people from a range of backgrounds, including big names such as author Matt Haig and actor Warwick Davis.
It wasn’t until David visited the website to check if his friend Kiera Roche, founder of LimbPower, was on the list when he saw his own face on the site.
David said: ‘I glanced down and I was diagonally beneath her - that made it hard to sink in. It was a real shock, I genuinely didn’t think I was going to be on the list. It’s remarkable really.
‘I have always said with these awards and nominations, I’m not the sort of person who will put it on the mantelpiece and forget about it. I think it’s really important to do something with it and for me it’s a massive responsibility.’
Appearing for the second year in a row, 14-year-old disability campaigner Emily White feels grateful for being chosen due to her hard work aiming for inclusion of disabled children.
Emily, who is from Fareham, has spina bifida, hydrocephalus, scoliosis, PDA autism and chiari malformation – but she has never let this stop her.
Emily said: ‘I made the list last year which was amazing! I also won the National Diversity Award for my campaigns - 2019 was a good year. Sadly Covid has meant that in 2020 I haven't been as busy, but I'm so grateful to be included again.’
Proud dad and fellow campaigner Dan said: ‘It goes without saying that we are so proud of our daughter. Emily has won awards and notoriety because of her own beliefs and drive.
‘This listing again proves that nothing will hold back a generation, it's about time the wider world caught up with the might and wants of a nation’s disabled children and changed its attitudes and stereotypes.’
David aims to get more involved with charities and being a spokesperson for organisations, along with planning other impressive fundraising challenges.
David told The News: ‘I just want to keep making people say “wow”. I’m really grateful for all the support I have had.
‘When I was growing up, there was no one on TV who looked like me or who was different. Even now, I think disabled people are the least represented minority on TV.
‘I’d really like to help get involved with increasing accessibility to sport for disabled kids. I have got some really big plans.’
Visit disabilitypower100.com/thelist to see David and Emily’s profiles as well as the 98 others who made it to the list.