Queen’s Birthday Honours: Founder of Portsmouth Down Syndrome Association to be made an MBE
A WOMAN who set up a charity in Portsmouth to support people living with Down Syndrome says her son is her biggest inspiration.
Rachael Ross set up the Portsmouth Down Syndrome Association in 2010, after her son Max was born Down syndrome 14 years ago.
Since starting the charity, she has received a number of awards for her work, including a Points of Light award from former prime minister David Cameron, and the Portsmouth Civic Award.
Now, Rachael will be made an MBE by Her Majesty the Queen, after being named in the Queen’s Birthday Honours.
When Portsmouth Down Syndrome Association was set up, Rachael said that there was a lack of specialist support for families in the surrounding area – an issue that is still prevalent today.
Rachael said: ‘When my son Max was born, it soon became apparent that there were no specialist services available to support children with Down syndrome and their families, and this situation hasn’t really improved over the years.
‘I co-founded Portsmouth Down Syndrome Association to provide the specialist services our children need to thrive and reach their full potential.
‘Research has proven that children with Down syndrome are capable of successfully learning alongside their peers with the right specialist support, and that early intervention leads to better educational outcomes for these children.’
Rachael says she was delighted to learn that she would be made an MBE, seeing it as the perfect opportunity to further educate people on supporting children with Down syndrome.
‘I’m incredibly proud to have been awarded an MBE on the Queen’s Birthday Honours list for services to education and Down syndrome,’ she said.
‘This honour will help to further raise the profile of the charity and also highlight the importance of the work we are doing.
‘As a society we are only just beginning to fully recognise and celebrate the wonderful potential of individuals with Down syndrome and I’m more resolved than ever to raise awareness and promote inclusion, because when individuals with Down syndrome are included and given the opportunity to participate, the whole community benefits.’
Rachael’s husband, Ken Ross, says he is ‘over the moon’ for his wife.
He said: ‘All of us are really chuffed for her.
‘It feels great that all of her hard work is being recognised like this.’