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Bomb survivor Martin Hibbert in Disability Power list top 10

A man who was seriously injured in the Manchester Arena bombing said he was "proud" to be named as one of the most influential disabled people in the UK.

Martin Hibbert, of Chorley, Lancashire, who was left paralysed from the waist down after the 2017 blast was listed in the top 10 of the Disability Power 100.

Mr Hibbert climbed up Mount Kilimanjaro for charity last year.

Lancashire artist Ava Jolliffe, 17, got a Rising Star award and Bolton actress Ruth Madeley won a Judges Choice gong.

Mr Hibbert, who used a specially-adapted wheelchair as he spent five days scaling Africa's highest mountain in Tanzania, has subsequently raised more than £900,000 for the Spinal Injuries Association (SIA).

The 47-year-old was named in the community advocate category of the Disability Power 100 "because of his work in challenging perceptions of disability and highlighting the barriers disabled people face on a daily basis".

Martin Hibbert
Martin Hibbert as he reached Gilman's Point summit on the mountain

Mr Hibbert, SIA vice president, said: "I am so proud and honoured to have been recognised in this way.

"Ever since my injury in 2017 my life has been dedicated to making the lives of people with spinal cord injury better by highlighting the injustice and suffering that disabled people face on a day-to-day basis."

He added: "If we can change the perceptions of disability, we can change societies attitudes for the better."

The SIA said: "His energy and determination to campaign on behalf of disabled people has been hugely influential but we know there is much more that needs to be done before we see a society that enables rather than disables people."

The football agent in his specially-adapted wheelchair
The football agent in his specially-adapted wheelchair

Mr Hibbert suffered more than 20 shrapnel wounds, with one that severed his spinal cord, in the suicide bombing at the end of an Ariana Grande concert on 22 May 2017 which killed 22 people and injured hundreds more.

He has also received the prime minister's Points of Light award.

Autistic psychologist and entrepreneur Lee Chambers, from Blackburn, who is founder of PhenomGames and Essentialise Workplace Wellbeing is among the others recognised in the Shaw Trust's Disability Power 100.

Ava, a digital artist and designer, said she was "honoured to be included with so many amazing people" in this year's Disability Power 100.

The teenager who helped design an inclusive sell out range of clothing with Asda is delighted with her Rising Star accolade.

She said: "I am proud of my disabled diversity, and look to use my successes, ambition and passion to open conversations and challenge perceptions of what a Deafblind person can achieve."

Ms Madeley, an acclaimed actress and writer, said it was a "joy to be part of the Disability Power 100 and be in the company of so many incredible disabled people" adding she hopes "to continue to make a difference in my industry and help to make the creative process more accessible for all".


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