New Year Honours 2021: OBE for ex-rugby player Matt Hampson

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image copyrightMatt Hampson Foundation
image captionMatt Hampson was paralysed during an England Under-21 training session in 2005

A former England rugby player who was paralysed during training has been recognised in the Queen's New Year Honours with an OBE.

Matt Hampson, 36, was injured in 2005 when a scrum collapsed during an England Under-21 training session.

He set up a charity six years later to support and rehabilitate other young people seriously injured through sport.

Mr Hampson said he was "blown away" to be awarded for his services to charity and "proud" of what they had achieved.

"After my injury I just decided to get busy living and focus on the positives in life," he said.

"I'm really proud of what we've achieved with the foundation over the past 10 years and the amount of people we have helped to rebuild their lives following serious injury.

"It gives me a purpose, something to wake up for every morning and makes me feel so proud and honoured to help people in a similar situation to the one I found myself in."


Mr Hampson from Cold Overton, Leicestershire, joined Leicester Tigers academy as a teenager.

He was paralysed from the neck down in the accident and also relies on a mechanical ventilator to breathe.

His charity, the Matt Hampson Foundation, opened the Get Busy Living rehabilitation centre in the county two years ago.

Close friend and CEO of the foundation Tommy Cawston said: "Matt has dedicated his life to helping others in a similar situation to him and this recognition is well-deserved.

"What he's achieved since his injury is remarkable and here at the foundation we are all really proud of him."

image copyrightSarah Salotti
image captionJanet Arthur helped raise £2.5m to remodel Leicester Cathedral in preparation for Richard III's reburial in March 2015

Another fundraiser in Leicestershire to be recognised for their work is Janet Arthur.

As a trustee at Leicester Cathedral, she helped raise £2.5m for the reburial of Richard III's rediscovered remains and is now being appointed MBE for her efforts.

After the body was discovered in 2012, Mrs Arthur became heavily involved in the fundraising for the cathedral's refurbishment and a newly-built tomb.

image copyrightPA
image captionRichard III was buried in Leicester Cathedral after several days of commemorations

The 65-year-old said she was "amazed and really, really honoured".

"I would call that period of my life extraordinary and exciting," she said.

"It was hugely hard work - I had raised money for local churches but this was a national and international event."

Mrs Arthur, who has been chair of Leicestershire Historic Churches Trust since 2006, is now helping her husband Gordon with a bid to raise £11.3m to refurbish and extend the cathedral to cope with a growth in visitors since the reburial.

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