MLMC President awarded MBE!

We are very excited to share the news that our President, Michael Edwards, has been awarded an MBE in the King’s birthday honours for his service to people with learning disabilities. 

Michael is partially sighted and has a learning disability. Michael always felt a deep injustice at the lack of involvement that people with learning disabilities had in decision making around their own lives. He felt so strongly about this that he founded My Life My Choice in 1998, and for the past 26 years he has been a champion of the rights of people with a learning disability and an active trustee of the organisation. In 2017, in recognition of his tireless and pioneering efforts the charity’s membership voted for Michael to be made the lifetime President.

Michael (centre) accepts a cheque for the National Lottery Community Funding alongside Cllr Lygo, Cllr Leffman and Co-Chairs of the Trustees at MLMC, Ady Chappell and Ben McCay.

Co-Chair of the Trustees at MLMC, Adrian Chappell, said ‘Michael has done fabulous hard work to start MLMC up over 25 years ago. He is an inspiration. This is a very proud moment for us all.’

Kate Terroni Deputy Director of the Care Quality Commission (CQC) and former Director for Adult Services at Oxfordshire County Council (OCC) said “Michael has consistently and passionately defended the right of people with learning disabilities to run and to be in charge of their own charity. There are now some 800 members with learning disabilities who benefit from the charity’s outstanding work and many I speak with strive to be like their role model, Michael Edwards.”

Kate added that “MLMC and Michael are extremely well known for the valuable work that is delivered, not only in Oxfordshire but, on a national level and I know it gives OCC great pride to be associated with this organisation and its founder. Michael has made a huge difference and without Michael’s efforts the lives of people with learning disabilities would be all the much poorer.”

On receipt of the honour, Michael said he feels ‘extremely proud’, adding that ‘when we started the charity, there was nothing for us [people with learning disabilities], we were told what to do and when to do it.’ When asked what his proudest achievement has been, he said ‘getting justice for Connor’. In 2013-17, Michael worked on the Laughing Boy campaign following the tragic death through negligence of 18-year-old Connor Sparrowhawk, who had an epileptic seizure and drowned in a bath whilst under the care of Southern Health at Slade House in Oxford. Connor’s Mother and Patron of MLMC said that she could think of nobody more deserving of an MBE than Michael.