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Paralympic champions tell of pride after being honoured by Queen

Wheelchair tennis player Gordon Reid after receiving his MBE (Jane Barlow/PA)
Wheelchair tennis player Gordon Reid after receiving his MBE (Jane Barlow/PA)

THREE Paralympic gold medallists have spoken of their pride as they added an honour from the Queen to their tally of awards.

Wheelchair tennis star Gordon Reid, athlete Jo Butterfield and cyclist Karen Darke were all made MBEs at an investiture ceremony in Edinburgh on Tuesday.

The Scots athletes all scooped gold for the ParalympicsGB team in their disciplines at the Rio Games last year.

Speaking after the ceremony at the Palace of Holyroodhouse, Reid said: “It feels great, it’s really a proud moment to receive an MBE from the Queen.”

He said it was great to share the day with his parents and tennis coach, “the three people that have helped me get here the most out of anyone”.

 

Reid won Wimbledon’s men’s doubles title for the first time last summer, having already triumphed at the 2015 US Open and twice at the French Open. He also became singles champion at the Australian Open and Wimbledon last year, and landed the Paralympic singles gold medal.

He described 2016 as an “amazing year” that “went by in a flash”, and said he is looking forward to defending his Wimbledon titles.

“I’m feeling good, I’m looking forward to getting back on the grass,” he said. “It’s always a great feeling playing at Wimbledon, it’s such a special place to be.”

Joanna Butterfield after receiving her MBE for services to field athletics (Jane Barlow/PA)
Joanna Butterfield after receiving her MBE for services to field athletics (Jane Barlow/PA)
Butterfield said the experience of going to the palace was “a bit surreal”, but added: “It’s a really nice feeling after what happened with Rio.”

 

She claimed gold at the Games in the F51 club throw.

On her conversation with the Queen during the ceremony, she said: “Obviously we talked about Rio and it being the first Paralympics that I’d been to. It was nice, quite friendly.”

She is now gearing up to defend her title at the world championships in London later this month and says she is looking forward to getting in front of the home crowd.

Athlete Dr Karen Darke was awarded for services to paralympic sport (Jane Barlow/PA)
Cyclist Dr Karen Darke was awarded for services to paralympic sport (Jane Barlow/PA)
Darke, who won the H1-3 time trial to secure a cycling gold in Brazil, said it was a “great honour” to be made an MBE.

 

She said: “I think when I’m here about all the people that really helped me get here. I suppose when you’re a Paralympic athlete, it’s never just about yourself, so there are lots of people I can think of that should be here as well.”

She is currently training to represent Scotland in the triathlon at next year’s Commonwealth Games in Australia.