Claire Lomas MBE – the first and only paralysed person to walk the London Marathon – honoured West London employers and Apprentices for their achievements at Uxbridge College’s annual awards night.
Dubbed the ‘bionic woman’ by media because she completed the 2012 marathon in a pioneering ReWalk robotic suit, Claire presented awards to winners chosen from amongst the College’s employer partners and learners.
Winners included Barclays Bank in Southall who won The Work Experience Employer Award, for its exceptional support to work experience students, welcoming more than 100 Uxbridge College students over the last four years.
TMD Technologies in Hayes took the Apprentice Employer Award, for its outstanding support of Uxbridge College Apprentices. The firm has four apprentices in three different areas – mechanical engineering, electrical engineering and business administration.
Olivia Giger, won Intermediate Apprentice Award, sponsored by Hillingdon Chamber of Commerce. She is an Early Years Apprentice at Lilliputs Pre-school. Emily Lloyd won the Advanced Apprentice Award, sponsored by Hillingdon Chamber of Commerce. She is an Early Years Apprentice at McMillan Early Childhood Centre in Hayes. She is describe as an exceptional Apprentice who completed her qualification while raising her own young daughter and has now started an Early Years Foundation Degree at Kingston University.
Weronika Gogol won the Star Award for Business, while Ciara Maloney won The Higher Education Award for Business.
Claire is paraplegic – paralysed from the chest down but able to use her arms – after a horse riding accident, but in 2012 she became the first and only paralysed person to walk the London Marathon, which took her 17 days and raised £210,000 for Spinal Research. She also made headlines when she was banned from the Vitality London 10k race after organisers said UK Athletics rules prohibited the use of motors, but was later allowed to take part unofficially. She lit the Paralympic cauldron in Trafalgar Square in 2012, has raised more than £500,000 for the Nicholls Spinal Injury Foundation, has written and published her autobiography Finding My Feet, takes part in motorbike racing using only hand controls, and was made an MBE this year.
Principal of Uxbridge College, Laraine Smith OBE, said: “Our Annual Awards event was a fantastic opportunity to celebrate the achievements of our students and employer partners, and we would like to say a huge thank you to Claire Lomas for coming along to present the awards. Claire’s story shows exactly how far courage, determination and hard work can get you and the same applies to those honoured by awards this year at Uxbridge College’s ceremony. And whilst many of our award winners have succeeded with high grades in academic and work-related training, it is also their personal stories that give their achievements such meaning. Congratulations to everyone who has received awards this year.”
The event, held at The Beck Theatre in Hayes, recognised winners from across the College’s academic and vocational programmes – including GCSEs, A-levels, BTEC qualifications, Apprenticeships and HNDs – and from among the 1,000 employers the College works with.