Wednesday, 22 February 2012

An unsung heroine, till now.

My cousin received her OBE yesterday.

I'm no Royalist. I struggle with the idea that one woman should be more important than another. I don't suppose she'd stand up if I walked into a room, yet she'd expect me to. Having said that, I am impressed that she is still vigorous in her late eighties.

But I am hugely proud of my cousin; and - given that OBEs are the way her work is recognised - I raised a glass to her yesterday and will drool over her photographs.

Her award is for 'Equality and Child Protection in Sport.' (No, I'm not sporty either). She has spent forty years working to protect children who join football clubs, swimming clubs, fencing, yoga, basketball - anywhere adults volunteer to help children and young people in sport. When she first launched her campaign it was acceptable to joke about coaches ogling little boys in the shower; to turn a blind eye at the gym teacher stroking a little girl's thigh as he held her handstand. All this is no longer funny - and my cousin was the first to make herself unpopular by standing up and saying this is wrong.

Yes, it still happens. We may never find ways to deter the most determined and persuasive abuser. But the systems are there for children to report anything that worries them, and for allegations to be investigated. The message is out there - sexual abuse in sport is wrong.

And it all began with my brave, independent, bolshy cousin. Celia Brackenridge - I'm proud of you.


  1. I love seeing recognition going to the right people! Sports, music and film stars have their awards, but giving an OBE,MBE etc to people like your cousin makes so much more sense. More of these should go to those who truly change people's lives. Congratulations Celia!

  2. Congratulations on a well deserved OBE!


  3. Thanks, Lynn and Lisa. Celia certainly deserves this - it's great to see her work recognised.

  4. There are so many areas in our life where abuse is rife. I would never have thought about this issue until I read your blog post. I think your cousin is very brave and well deserving of her award. I'm just sad that these types of protections are needed.

  5. Congratulations - and a huge thank you - to your cousin.

  6. Sarah - I think you've hit the nail on the head - we all need to be grateful to her. Our children are safer because of the work she has done.