Josef Craig, a Paralympic athlete with cerebral palsy, has just become one of the youngest people to be awarded the honor of MBE, Member of the British Empire. He was honored with this award because of his work with the Paralympics, inspiring young people to strive to be the best they can be as a champion swimmer with cerebral palsy. Craig said: “I have always wanted to be famous and well-known and I am just so grateful to have been given all these opportunities. It’s always been a dream of mine to inspire other people to achieve their ambitions, whatever they might be, and hope I am inspiring people. Words cannot describe it.”
Earlier in 2012 it was not certain Craig would even be able to participate in sports. The 15-year old from St. Joseph’s Comprehensive School in South Tyneside was recovering from a serious illness which threatened his ability to participate in the summer Paralympic Games. But he recovered in spades, breaking two world swimming records as he blasted his way to the top of the podium. When Craig was called up on stage to accept his place on Team GB at the year’s Gazette Pride of South Tyneside Awards, he said: “It’s a great honor and tops off what has been an amazing year. I just can’t believe it. When I got the letter, I didn’t know what to think. I felt really honored to be chosen to be awarded with an MBE. This year couldn’t have got any better. I started it off in recovery and then everything just exploded. It just feels amazing.”
Craig’s parents, Kim and Ken Craig were also bursting with enthusiasm for their son: “It’s absolutely brilliant. We are over the moon and just delighted for him. Words can’t describe how proud we are of Josef. He works so hard and never once gave up on his dreams. This year has been amazing. Just when we think things can’t get any better, something else comes along.”
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