On Tuesday 5 March, Deaf footballer, Claire Stancliffe was honoured by the Prime Minister for her voluntary work. Claire became the 1,135th winners of the Points of Light award which recognises outstanding individual volunteers who are making a change in their community.
Claire Stancliffe from Wellingborough in Northamptonshire, is captain of the GB Deaf Women’s Football Squad, and successful led a campaign to raise over £100,000 to take both the men’s and women’s teams to the 2017 Deaflympics in Samsun, Turkey.
Claire has been involved in deaf sports since 2007 and visits local schools to encourage young children to engage in sport. She has competed in international competitions for a decade and has won medals at Deaf World Championships in 2008 and 2016, the Deaf European Championships in 2011 and at the Deaflympics in 2013. As the team receives no official funding, Claire took it upon herself to raise the necessary money through online auctions, fundraising events and writing to companies to offer in-kind donations.
Unfortunately Claire suffered a major knee injury in 2017, however she continues to inspire people through her social media channels, sharing videos of her recovery and rehabilitation with her online following alongside posts about in which she teaches sign language.
In a personal letter to Claire, Prime Minister Theresa May said:
“You should feel incredibly proud of how your fundraising has enabled Deaf Football teams to take part in international competitions. I wish you well as you continue to inspire young deaf people and share your passion for sport.”
“It’s a huge honour to be recognised by the Prime Minister for a Points of Light award. Deaf football has played a huge part in my life and given me many difficult challenges but also many fantastic life experiences. It has been very rewarding to play a part and see deaf football grow over the last decade.
“I have been incredibly lucky to have a large amount of support by the public especially after my injury. I believe that everybody has the ability to inspire others in some way and hope that what I do at least helps someone in some way. I will continue to fight for recognition for DeaflympicsGB in the hope that athletes can concentrate on their preparations.”