A polio survivor in Hertfordshire has been awarded an MBE (Member of the Order of the British Empire) in the 2022 New Years' Honours list, for services to people with polio in the UK and to the criminal justice system.
Colin Powell from Bushey, caught polio in 1949 when he was just six months old, following an innocent swimming trip with his father. The polio virus attacked his spinal cord and left him paralysed for life.
Colin only started his education at age 11 and left school with just one GCE O-Level. He started work for £7.50 a week and studied by correspondence course in the evenings and at weekends. He qualified as a Chartered Certified Accountant aged 23 years. Experiencing disability discrimination in the workplace, he immediately set up his own accountancy practice and in his own words still “dabbles”.
Despite being fully wheelchair bound and suffering the horrendously painful symptoms of post-polio syndrome (PPS), Colin has worked tirelessly to raise money for other polio survivors and support the British Polio Fellowship (BPF), a Hertfordshire-based charity empowering people living with the effects of polio and PPS.
Colin explained “I had absolutely no idea that I had been nominated for this extremely prestigious award. After retiring, having been a life member of the BPF, I felt it was time to show my appreciation, in a more tangible way, for all the kind assistance they have given me for near on 65 years.
“Having joined Rotary who has as its prime objective to globally eradicate polio, I made them aware of the existence of us polio survivors by giving Zoom talks about polio and PPS. I’m most grateful to them for their support in all of my endeavours”.
Post-polio syndrome is a non-contagious condition that affects many polio survivors, years after their recovery. Polio symptoms experienced in the original virus attack, such as paralysis, muscle weakness and shrinking of the muscles, can return or even get worse.
“This award is terrific news and well deserved. Colin is a very positive, driven person and determined to succeed at whatever he puts his mind to. Thankfully for us, it was supporting the Fellowship and we are very grateful for everything he has done for us over the years” commented Kripen Dhrona, Chief Executive at BPF.
“The money raised and donated by Colin is making a very positive impact. It is funding the British Polio Fellowship to provide much needed information, welfare and support, to the thousands of people in the UK still coping with the effects of polio and PPS, in order for them to live full, independent and integrated lives.”
The MBE award also comes as recognition for Colin’s 32 years’ service as a magistrate in the adult criminal courts.