FORMER British 10,000m record holder Don Taylor was honoured for his work with disabled sports people at a prestigious recent ceremony, at Old Trafford, home of Manchester United FC.
Taylor, from West Drayton, won the Lifetime Achievement award at the Nationwide Disability Sport Events (DSE) Awards in recognition for the many years he has spent improving participation for disabled people in sport.
The 72-year-old who last year won the Volunteer of the Year award was one of only three people from the London region to receive an award at the ceremony, among 35 from across the UK.
Taylor was part of the original DSE, known then as the British Sports Association for the Disabled, and he helped form the North West London branch of which he became chairman.
He helped disabled children take part in the London Youth Games and since then he has been involved in numerous different events, most notably the London Wheelchair Marathon.
He started as press officer for its inaugural race in 1983, became chairman 10 years ago and all the time the race has gone from strength to strength to the point where it is now one of the biggest in the world for wheelchair racers.
"When I had got the award I started thinking how long I have been involved with disabled sport and it was in the 1960s at the Hillingdon Youth Sports Centre, but the award was mainly for the
London Marathon," said Taylor, who is currently trying to set up a wheelchair racing club in Hillingdon. "I believe I've helped shift the wheelchair race from among the reports on fancy dress runners to the sports pages.
"The wheelchair race is going much more into the London Marathon itself and I think that's the right way to go because I think it gives added status to the event."
As an international athlete Taylor held the British 10,000m record from 1963 to 1965 and was ranked as high as fourth in the world as well as fifth in the 3,000m. He then moved to Hillingdon and was the first director of the Hillingdon Youth Sports Centre where he worked with disabled sportsmen including one who had cerebral palsy and a blind cyclist, who he almost sent into a wall when he forgot to shout 'turn!'