Volunteer ‘humbled’ by national award for work with spinal cord injury charity

Photo by Guy Harrop. Pic of Back Up Trust annual U13 activity course at The Calvert Trust, Devon. Pictured is Group leader  Julie Hill photographer
Photo by Guy Harrop. Pic of Back Up Trust annual U13 activity course at The Calvert Trust, Devon. Pictured is Group leader  Julie Hill photographer

A volunteer who has dedicated more than two decades to the work of a leading spinal cord injury charity has said she is ‘humbled’ after receiving a national honour.

Julie Hill, from Chichester, has been given a British Citizen Award for her services to charity Back Up – an organisation that aims to inspire independence in everyone affected by spinal cord injury.

Julie, aged 55, has been hugely involved in Back Up’s work after sustaining a spinal cord injury in 1990. Her own injury was caused by a car accident which left her permanently paralysed from the waist down.

Speaking about her award, Julie said: “Back Up literally gave me my life back after my injury.

“They taught me about what I could do as opposed to what I felt I no longer could.

“The impact that their work had, not just on me but the ripple effect that had on my family and friends was immeasurable.”

Julie added: “To be able to give back and share my experiences has been very rewarding. I feel very humbled to receive this award.”

In November 2012, Julie became a Back Up mentor, and has supported more than twenty people coming to terms with life with a spinal cord injury.

The Chichester resident is one of the longest-serving volunteers at Back Up and has been involved in all aspects of the charity’s work – from being a group leader on residential courses, right up to being chair of trustee’s for five years.

More recently, Julie became a schools advocate for the charity, ensuring the full inclusion of children and young people with spinal cord injury in mainstream schools.

Julie was nominated for a BCA by Back Up course administrator, Karim Dafallah, who said: “Many people feel their life is over after a devastating spinal cord injury, but the work that Julie does on our rehabilitative courses empowers people to live as full a life as possible.

“She uses her own personal experience of spinal cord injury to help others in a similar situation to rebuild their confidence and independence.

“She is a very special volunteer and we’re so pleased that her amazing contribution to our work has earned her a BCA award.”