- 26th October 2018
- Posted by: Austen Burns
- Category: General News
Angela Hendra MBE is a six times Paralympic medallist, who has dedicated her life to improving the position of people with disabilities in society.
Born into a large family in Malin Head in Donegal, at the age of 10 Angela and her family moved to Derry~Londonderry. Following the diagnosis of a tumour on her spine at the age of 12, Angela went on to spend 15 months at Stoke Mandeville Hospital in Buckinghamshire, the birthplace of the Paralympic Games.
It was here while receiving treatment under the care of Ludwig Guttman, the ‘father of the Paralympic Games’, that Angela developed a strong interest in sport.
After years of dedicated training Angela excelled in both the sports of Table Tennis and Lawn Bowls, winning numerous medals at a National, European and World level.
Highlights of her long career include winning the Wheelchair Class of the World Table Tennis Championships in 1975 and winning bronze medals at the 1972 Paralympic Games in Heidelberg, the 1976 Games in Toronto, and the 1980 Paralympic Games in Arnhem.
Later specialising in Lawn Bowls Angela went on to win bronze, silver and gold medals at the 1984 Paralympic Games in Stoke Mandeville.
Following the end of her competitive career Angela increasingly became committed to improving the rights of people with a disability and has spent her life since then working in a voluntary capacity to improve the services and opportunities available to people with disabilities, particularly in the areas of health and sport.
This has involved playing an active role in the work of numerous voluntary organisations including the Northern Ireland Paraplegic Association, Irish Wheelchair Association, British Wheelchair Sports Foundation, the Centre for Independent Living and Wheelchair Bowls Northern Ireland. She is also a former member of the Sports Council for Northern Ireland and a lay inspector responsible for monitoring care in residential and nursing homes.
But most importantly for us she was also a founding member and former chair of Disability Sport NI during which time she played a pivotal role in the development of our charity.
Angela did all of course while maintaining a successful professional career as a Cytologist working in the City Hospital, Belfast for 43 years before retiring in 2009.
In recognition of her services to disability sport, Angela was awarded an MBE in 1991….
In 2012 she was chosen by LOCOG to start the London 2012 Paralympic Flame Festival by lighting the Paralympic Cauldron outside Parliament Buildings at Stormont…
and in 2016 she was honoured by Paralympics Ireland when she became the first recipient of The Irish Paralympic Order.
A very worthy winner – Congratulations Angela!