Peterborough charity boss honoured at Sports Personality of the Year awards

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The head of a Peterborough based charity who climbed the highest mountains this year has picked up a top gong at a national awards ceremony.

Bob Nolan, chairman of Deafblind UK, which is based in Hampton, won the Unsung Hero prize at the 2018 Deaf Sports Personality of the Year awards.

Bob, who himself is Deafblind, having been born deaf and has now lost 97 per cent of his vision as a result of Usher’s Syndrome, was appointed Chair of the charity earlier this year.

This year he took on an incredible challenge - and is already planning his next big adventure.

During Deafblind Awareness Week 2018, the theme of which was ‘Because life is still an adventure’ Bob became the first Deafblind individual to complete the Three Peaks Challenge, climbing Ben Nevis, Scafell Pike, and Snowdon, whilst also cycling the 483 miles between peaks on a tandem bicycle.

Bob said “It was special to be recognised by Deaf Sports for being the first Deafblind person to complete the Three Peaks Challenge.

“They also recognised my small part in encouraging and supporting Deafblind people all over the UK these past 20 years. As the first Deafblind recipient of a DSPY award I do hope many more will now follow.”

“The key people I’d like to thank are my wife Louise, who herself is severely deaf and has completed all my tandem challenges with me and supports me in everything I do. Also Drena and Hammy O’Malley from Deafblind Scotland who encouraged and supported me throughout.”

Bob paid special tribute to one of his closest friends, who inspired him on his incredible challenge.

He said: “However I’d also like to dedicate my award to one of my closest friends, Richard Cole. Richard was also Deafblind (with Usher type II) and contracted Motor Neurone disease in 2005.

“In his later years he was an enthusiastic blind archer and retained a positive outlook and terrific sense of humour even through the dreadful final stages of his MND.

“Richard and his wife Jane crossed the country to be part of our first Lands End-John O’Groats Tandem Challenge in 2008, despite only having weeks to live.

“I know he’s out there somewhere encouraging me, and no doubt taking the mickey too, and would have loved to be at the DSPY Awards celebration.”

He added: “I hope my achievements will inspire Deafblind people, and others, that no matter what challenges we face in life if you want to do something badly enough, with the help of others you can find a way.”