A NAVY veteran, disability champion and survivor of a car crash which left her in a coma for five weeks has been awarded an honorary doctorate.
Penny Melville-Brown from Fareham has received the accolade from Middlesex University London for her work including her video series Baking Blind.
She was also the first woman barrister in the Navy and was promoted to
Commander, but blindness ended her career early and she is now a war pensioner.
Undaunted, she has run Disability Dynamics for nearly 20 years, helping other
disabled people to get back to work and most recently, she started her Baking Blind
YouTube channel to demonstrate that disability is no bar to ambition.
Commenting on her award she said: ‘I am hugely grateful to Middlesex for recognising that work in the disability field has both national and global significance.
‘There are some one billion disabled people around the world who struggle to fulfil their potential.
‘Every one of us can make a difference by turning inclusive attitudes into tangible practical action.’
In 2017, she won the worldwide Holman prize run by San Francisco’s LightHouse for
blind and visually impaired people.
Now nearly recovered from a major car accident in France last December which left her in a coma for five weeks, Penny has broadcast over 50 videos of her life-changing adventures and culinary partnerships to a growing international following.
She said: ‘I was also very honoured to be invited to address the students graduating at the ceremony.
‘My theme was to encourage them to develop life skills of resilience, determination and getting on with people as the foundation for handling challenges in the future – whether their health, careers or any aspect of their lives.
‘I used Baking Blind as an example of how shared enthusiasm and passion break down barriers of difference and build bridges to new opportunities, new relationships and new life horizons.
Vice-Chancellor of Middlesex University Professor Tim Blackman said: ‘I am delighted Middlesex has honoured Penny Melville-Brown.
‘As exceptional achievers in their fields, our honorary graduates are role models for our ambitious students and it’s a great privilege to welcome them to the Middlesex family to be part of our future success.’
For more information about Baking Blind, please visit www.bakingblind.com