First there was the Paralympics 2012 which mesmerized over a billion TV viewers. Then came the Invictus Games, Prince Harry’s successful international multi-sports event to celebrate the agility and sporting prowess of wounded and disabled servicemen and women.
Now Powerful Media, in partnership with Shaw Trust, are proud to announce the launch of Power 100: The most influential people in Britain with a disability or impairment. The list is the first of its kind to be published in Britain.
Listing 100 of the most powerful, influential and inspiring disabled people in Britain it is, perhaps, no surprise that renowned physicist Stephen Hawking, 72, who was diagnosed with motor neurone disease aged 22, tops the list.
More surprisingly another Stephen – Stephen Fry – comes in at number five. The popular 57-year-old actor, comedian, writer, presenter and activist, who was diagnosed with bipolar disorder, has publicly depicted his plight in the Emmy Award winning TV documentary Stephen Fry: The Life of a Manic Depressive.
Also making it into the top 10 is Ade Adepitan MBE, the TV presenter and wheelchair basketball player who contracted polio as a baby and lost the use of his left leg.
The Top 10 is, however, dominated by women including Dame Tanni Grey-Thompson, the Welsh parliamentarian, TV presenter and former wheelchair racer, who makes it in at number two. The list is divided into eight categories: Arts, Fashion & Design; Business, Finance & IT; Media & Publishing; Entertainment; Politics, Law & Religion; Education, Public & Third Sector; Science Medicine & Engineering and Sports.
The publishers, Powerful Media, who are known for their Power List and Future Leaders List, recognise disability “as defined by a physical or mental impairment that has a ‘substantial’ and ‘long-term’ effect on your ability to do normal daily activities.” (1) Dom Hyams, who edited the list says “This is a list to be proud of. We believe it will successfully inspire young people to fulfil their potential.”
The individuals were chosen by a panel of judges carefully selected for their expertise in and around matters of disability: Dr Mike Nussbaum, specialist disability adviser to Shaw Trust, the national employment, learning and skills charity; Geoffrey Williams, diversity and inclusion specialist at Thomson Reuters; Selvin Brown from the Department for Work and Pensions and Kate Headley, Development Director at the Clear Company. It was edited by Dom Hyams, assistant producer at a BAFTA award winning TV sport production company.
Roy O’Shaughnessy, CEO of Shaw Trust, who are the main sponsors of the list says: “Shaw Trust is delighted to sponsor the first ever Power List of the 100 most influential disabled people in the United Kingdom. The number of disabled people in senior leadership positions across business, politics and sport is increasing all the time. This is due to the dedication and commitment of those included in the Power List who have laid the foundations for future generations to achieve more. The Power List proves that having a disability is no barrier to success.”
Mark Harper MP, Minister of State for Disabled People, welcomes Power 100 as a positive move to “recognise and celebrate an extraordinary range of disabled people and their achievements in all aspects of life, from education, politics and law through to sport and media. I want to congratulate those on the list for what they have achieved and for showing us just what is possible.”