Local paper The Herald article taken from Face Book:
Ian Westgate will receive the MBE for services to people with disabilities in Eastbourne.
Mr Westgate is the immediate past chair of Eastbourne Access Group and has a 50 year track record of volunteering through scouting, youth club leadership, Rotaract, MS Society and more recently with the Eastbourne Access Group where he was chair for 15 years.
He said, “I feel deeply humbled that my friends have thought me worthy of such reward.
“Over the years I have volunteered in many ways though I never really knew if my time and effort was appreciated. This award is the best confirmation imaginable and I am so deeply touched that I am considered worthy, however I acknowledge what has been achieved with the Access Group is a team effort.”
Mr Westgate started an MS exercise group at the DGH with senior neuro-physiotherapist Debbie Soave MBE with a lottery grant in 2003 that is still running.
His work within the Eastbourne Access Group led to it being recognised as a voice for disabled people and campaigning on their behalf.
He was also involved with the introduction of the A5 Eastbourne Guide for Disabled People and Access Group website.
Mr Westgate said, “Throughout my life I have benefitted from the help and support of others especially since being diagnosed with MS and it is my appreciation of this that drives me.
“I have benefited from the selflessness of others and it would be wrong of me to accept this without returning something to the community. Most people appreciate the word ‘Thank you’ and I am no exception, but my true reward is the knowledge that I have in some small way been able to help others.
“Volunteering has been a significant element of my life for as long as I can remember, and I cannot imagine life without it. I met my wife through volunteering in Rotaract 40 years ago … that is a reward in itself.”