‘She’s a truly remarkable lady’: Patron of Guilden Morden charity awarded MBE

Rachel Furley with her assistance dog Poppy with some members of the Wheels for Martin’s Friends Com

Rachel Furley with her assistance dog Poppy with some members of the Wheels for Martin’s Friends Committee at a recent meeting in the Edward VII in Guilden Morden. - Credit: Archant

A new patron of a Guilden Morden charity which raises funds for mobility aids has been praised for her wide-ranging contribution to good causes.

Rachel Furley, who recently became a patron of Wheels for Martin’s Friends, was recognised with an MBE in the Queen’s New Year Honours list for her work with the children affected by the Chernobyl nuclear power station disaster.

The Addenbrooke’s Hospital doctor set up Bridges To Belarus while she was still a medical student at Downing College, Cambridge, to help children who continue to be affected by the 1986 tragedy.

Twice a year she takes out clothes, food and other goods to the Ukraine and her mother Sheila has set up a summer school there for children who want to learn English.

The 32-year-old, who lives in the Cambs village of Linton, said: “We support 800 children and their families.

“We have provided beds and clothes and food parcels.

“These families are very poor, a lot of them have no running water. Some of them are trying to live on £5 a month.

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“We make sure the children are fed and they go to school every day.”

Rachel, who is in a wheelchair because of an inherited disorder which affects her joints and spinal chord, became involved with Wheels for Martin’s Friends when the organisation helped to fund a racing chair so that she could take part in a fundraising event.

Charity chairman Peter Furmston said: “She’s a remarkable lady. Despite being in a wheelchair herself, she’s raised so much money for other people. She’s been very helpful in advising the charity.”

Wheels For Martin’s Friends was set up in memory of Martin Dellar, a teenager from Guilden Morden who needed a wheelchair.

The charity was formed in 1989 and, although Martin has since passed away, the charity has gone on to help many others and has raised more than £300,000 since it began.

For further information and help from Wheels for Martin’s Friends, visit www.wheelsformartinsfriends.org.uk or contact Peter on 01763 852125.