Queen's New Year Honours: Clitheroe fundraiser 'humbled' to receive BEM for dedication to visually impaired and blind people

A visually impaired Clitheroe man, who for decades has campaigned for disabled rights, has been awarded a British Empire Medal in the Queen’s New Year’s Honours list.

By Faiza Afzaal
Saturday, 1st January 2022, 9:26 am
Updated Saturday, 1st January 2022, 9:28 am

Tireless fundraiser Michael Tupper (75), of Eshton Terrace, says he felt "honoured and humbled" after discovering he was being recognised for voluntary service to visually impaired people.

He added: "It's absolutely wonderful - something I certainly never expected to get in my life. I’m totally humbled by it and it’s just a fantastic experience."

The father-of-one's campaign work has been instrumental in ensuring blind and partially sighted people have the right to their health information in a format they can access, be it digital, braille, large print, or audio. He helped to secure the NHS Accessible Information Standard in 2016, working with the Parliamentary APPG. He works with the NHS to ensure health service commissioners, providers and professionals understand the importance of implementing the standard. He highlighted the need for increased capacity in eye care services, to ensure people do not face delayed treatment, which can cause permanent sight loss.

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Michael Tupper

Michael's evidence to policy makers and politicians in 2018 contributed to ophthalmology being prioritised for transformation in the NHS. As a member of the Visually Impaired Forum of Lancashire, he works with other blind and partially sighted people, local councillors, policy makers and town planners to ensure changes to street design would not create barriers for

people with sight loss.

Michael has also volunteered for RNIB for almost 20 years, raising thousands to support the charity. Congratulating Michael on his achievement, Eleanor Thompson, Head of Policy and Public Affairs at RNIB, said: “Everyone at RNIB is delighted to be able to congratulate Michael on his recognition in the New Year's Honours list. Not only has Michael been a tireless campaigner to improve access to vital health information for blind and partially sighted patients across the UK; he has also campaigned extensively at the local level as part of the Lancashire VI Forum.

"Michael accompanied by guide dog Zeb also travelled across the North West fundraising for RNIB, raising thousands of pounds through collecting several days a week in supermarkets and shopping centres around the region, while making more people aware of the work of RNIB.”

Michael is currently involved in the development of a street charter for Preston, which will improve the accessibility of the area for the whole community and is involved in future plans of work for the Forum.