Sue Woodward, BEM ...

We are delighted that Sue Woodward has been recognised by the Queen in Her Majesty’s 2019 Birthday Honours List, being awarded an BEM (British Empire Medal) for services to disability swimming.

Here is a bit about Sue and why she has been honoured, written by Keith Beer (Halliwick ASTRA 15 (Wales) Chairman) …

Well done Sue – very well deserved!

Sue is pictured here receiving her medal from the Lord Lieutenant of Gwent, Brigadier Robert Aitken CBE.

I have known Sue for over forty years and I have watched her grow into the pillar of the community she is today.

Sue has a strong and determined personality, which enabled her to make a success of the businesses she set up, without any grants or state funding.

Although Sue could have moved out of the valleys to set up her businesses almost anywhere, she preferred stay in her home territory, so that the training, jobs and wages she created would go back into the local community.

Sue was able to bring this enthusiasm and the leadership skills she had gained with her when she joined the Blaenau Gwent Otters Club, which helps disabled people not only to learn to swim, but to enjoy the water safely.

Sue was elected onto the committee that runs the Blaenau Gwent Otters Club, very early on, and rapidly rose to become an officer in the club.  Sue became known throughout the region when she was chosen to represent her club at the Halliwick Association of Swimming Therapy’s Welsh Regional Committee Meetings and she is at present secretary to the Halliwick ASTRA 15. Sue has also represented the region at National Executive Committee meetings as well as the more select National Education Committee meetings.

A few years ago, at her own expense, Sue went on several courses, to qualify as a course organiser and is now the leader of the education team in Wales.

It was not only for her teaching and committee work that Sue became known.   Sue gained notoriety as the leader and main instigator, when it came to supporting the Welsh region’s team at the Halliwick AST National Championships.  This exuberance flows over into club and regional activities such as the Blaenau Gwent Otter’s Presentation Dinner or the Party in the Park when Sue encourages people into taking to the dance floor or participating in other embarrassing activities.

I think the award that Sue has received is very well deserved but it should not only be seen as recognition for her work with the Blaenau Gwent Otters, but for all that she does in the community.