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Paddling physiotherapist Julie Gray awarded MBE

Julie Gray, a paediatric physiotherapist and founder of Adventure Activities for All Abilities, has been awarded an MBE in the King's New Year's Honour's list.

Julie Gray3

Julie was recognised for her work with children who have impairments, including cerebral palsy, spina bifida and autism.

She was "very surprised and excited" when she was told she was getting the MBE. 

"I was jumping up and down and punching the air, like I was at a rave! 

"Must have looked mad to anyone that looked through the window."

The Newark-based paddler has been working with young people with additional and special needs for more than 30 years.

Adventure Activities for All Abilities uses kayaking and canoeing to enrich the lives of young people.

Julie Gray2

When the club won a British Canoeing Equality & Diversity Award in 2020, Julie said:

"Putting [the youngsters] in a canoe is a really nice way of improving [co-ordination and balance issues], so without doing therapy they're actually getting a lot of therapy."

The club is described as a "second family" by its users who feel they are "accepted for who they are".

Julie is a supporter of British Canoeing's Big Paddle Cleanup and leads litter picks on the River Devon, near Newark, Nottinghamshire.