ParalympicsGB’s Chef de Mission Penny Briscoe and British Paralympic Association (BPA) chief executive Tim Hollingsworth have both been made Officers of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in the Queen’s New Year’s Honours List.
Briscoe led Great Britain’s team at the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games, where the country finished second behind China in the standings with 147 medals – 64 golds, 39 silvers and 44 bronzes.
It was their best haul since the Seoul 1988 Games, surpassing the 131 won at Sydney 2000, and has led to numerous gold medallists being recognised in the Queen’s New Year’s Honours list.
Among them is equestrian rider Lee Pearson, who has been knighted after claiming his 11th Paralympic title at Rio 2016 with victory in the individual freestyle grade 1b dressage event.
Fellow equestrian rider Sophie Christiansen and swimmer Sascha Kindred have both received a Commanders of the Order of the British Empire (CBE), while Anne Dunham, also an equestrian rider, and cyclist Jody Cundy have been awarded OBEs.
“I am incredibly proud that the successes of ParalympicsGB are being recognised by the Queen in this way,” said Briscoe.
“The inclusion of our athletes and team members in the New Year’s Honours list is testament to an incredible performance at the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games and I congratulate them all.”
Hollingsworth joined the BPA in July 2011, before which he was the chief operating officer at UK Sport.
As well as leading the organisation and delivering on its strategic plan, he served as secretary general for ParalympicsGB at the London 2012 Paralympics, where the team won 120 medals – 34 golds, 43 silvers and 43 bronzes.
Hollingsworth held the same role two years later at the Winter Paralympics in Sochi, where the team won six medals – one gold, three silvers and two bronzes.
The gold medal, earned by Kelly Gallagher in the visually impaired women’s super-G, was Britain’s first at a Winter Paralympics.
“I am delighted that the efforts of both the team and the team behind the team representing their country have been recognised,” said Hollingsworth.
“We appreciate not all ParalympicsGB gold medallists from Rio received honours this time if they have received recognition as a result of their performances at previous Games.
“We are confident that all our athletes will be very proud of their recognition and that their achievements are acknowledged as equal to their Olympic counterparts.
“As part of our preparations for Rio, we worked closely with our colleagues at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in Brazil and so on behalf of all at the BPA, I congratulate our colleagues there Jonathan Dunn and Oliver Balhatchet (OBE and Members of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) recipients respectively), who were so helpful to the BPA and the team.”
BPA chairman Tim Reddish, who has received a CBE for services to Paralympic sport, added: “It gives me great pleasure as chairman of the BPA to see that so many people involved in the success of ParalympicsGB in Rio have been recognised in the Queen’s New Year’s Honours.
“I am also very pleased that the hard work and achievements of BPA staff members Tim Hollingsworth and Penny Briscoe has been recognised.
“I congratulate all recipients on their richly-deserved recognition.”
Among the other Paralympians recognised in the Queen’s New Year’s Honours list is swimmer Susie Rodgers, who has received an MBE for services to her sport.
Rodgers won three medals at the Rio 2016 Paralympics, including gold in the women’s 50 metres butterfly.
Former wheelchair rugby player Mike Spence has also been awarded an MBE for services to education as a school governor and teaching assistant at Manorbrook School in Bristol.
Spence, who represented Britain at the Sydney 2000 Paralympics, was also recognised for his wider work in the community and for his services to disability sport.
He was a school governor for more than 14 years and in 2006, became a teaching assistant supporting hundreds of children.
Nine-time Paralympic gold medal-winning swimmer Benoît Huot, meanwhile, has been named to the Order of Canada.