Royston charity founder named one of UK’s most influential people with disabilities

PUBLISHED: 14:11 21 October 2020 | UPDATED: 14:11 21 October 2020

Marrianne Rooprai from Royston has been included in a list of the most influential people with disabilities in the UK. Picture: Rooprai Spinal Trust

Marrianne Rooprai from Royston has been included in a list of the most influential people with disabilities in the UK. Picture: Rooprai Spinal Trust

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A Royston woman who became paralysed from the shoulders down after a car accident has been named one of the most influential people with disabilities in the UK.

Marrianne Rooprai from Royston has been included in a list of the most influential people with disabilities in the UK. Picture: Rooprai Spinal TrustMarrianne Rooprai from Royston has been included in a list of the most influential people with disabilities in the UK. Picture: Rooprai Spinal Trust

Marrianne Rooprai spent seven months in the Sheffield Spinal Unit after her accident in 2004, which led her to founding the Rooprai Spinal Trust (RST).

She has now been named on the Shaw Trust Power 100 list alongside other inspirational people, including cross-bench peer and disability campaigner Baroness Jane Campbell and Paralympic athlete Dame Tanni Grey-Thompson.

Marrianne has been praised for her “steely determination” and her approach to her rehabilitation, which helps to inspire those who have suffered similar injuries.

Funds raised by RST help people who have been paralysed access life-changing physiotherapy, as well as aiding research into reversing paralysis and improving the quality of life for people with spinal cord injuries.

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In 2019, RST supported an average of 20 people a month in the UK to access specialist physiotherapy, and it hopes to surpass this once COVID-19 is under control.

Marrianne said: “It’s a huge honour to be included in such a prestigious list, although I must admit I certainly don’t feel powerful. I do what I do because I am absolutely committed to showing people coming to terms with paralysis that there is light at the end of the tunnel.

“I hope my story inspires others, and while my injury means my life path is very different to how I’d imagined, I still have that same zest for life and I still love travel – it’s just a lot more of a challenge.”

To date the charity has raised more than £1 million since it was founded to help people who have been paralysed.

RST’s co-founder and trustee Sharon Hart said: “Marrianne is the face and motivation behind a fantastic charity. Rather than sit back and become something of a ceremonial symbol for RST, she is extremely hands-on with every aspect of the charity and her passion for helping people has been essential to its growth over the past few years.

“We’re extremely proud that she’s been included in this list and think it’s completely deserving for someone who is so committed to helping others.”


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