20th August 2019
SPECIAL OLYMPICS GB TENNIS PLAYER AND COACH RECEIVES PRESTIGIOUS DIANA AWARD
Special Olympic tennis player and coach Matt Chilvers was one of 85 inspirational young people from across England to be presented with The Diana Award at the House of Lords.
The ceremony was held as The Diana Award celebrated it’s 20th anniversary year and on Princess Diana’s Birthday, July 1. Established in memory of Diana, Princess of Wales, The Diana Award is the most prestigious accolade a young person aged 9-25 years old can receive for their social action or humanitarian work.
Established in memory of Diana, Princess of Wales, the Award is given out by the charity of the same name and has the support of both her sons, The Duke of Cambridge and The Duke of Sussex. To receive this award young people have to have demonstrated their ability to inspire and mobilise their own generation to service their communities through campaigning, volunteering, fundraising, tackling bullying or overcoming extreme life challenges. Although their causes and backgrounds are varied, what they all have in common is that they are changing their communities and the world as Princess Diana believed they could.
Matt who is based at the Desford Lawn Tennis Club in Desford, is on the autism spectrum, but he has not let this hold him back in any way. Matt acts as a role model for other young people with special needs, showing that they too can play a role in sport. “I get so much out of sport I want others to have the same opportunity. Just because you have special needs does not mean you cannot play sport and have fun”, says Matt.
He plans coaching sessions from a disabled participant’s point of view to ensure they progress at a pace suitable for them and organises dedicated tournaments for his peers. Matt constantly pushes himself out of his comfort zone to change perceptions for people with disabilities.
Tessy Ojo, Chief Executive, The Diana Award said, “We congratulate all our new Diana Award Holders from England who are changemakers for their generation. We know by receiving this honour they will inspire more young people to get involved in their communities and begin their own journey as active citizens. For over twenty years The Diana Award has valued and invested in young people encouraging them to continue to make positive change in their communities and lives of others.”