New Year’s Honours: West Hampstead charity hero Anthony Ford Shubrook made OBE for work with disabled kids in Africa

Anthony Ford-Shubrook with staff from the Action Network for the Disabled. Picture: Anthony Ford-Shu

Anthony Ford-Shubrook with staff from the Action Network for the Disabled. Picture: Anthony Ford-Shubrook - Credit: Archant

West Hampstead man Anthony Ford Shubrook was taken aback to learn in the run-up to Christmas that he was set to be made an OBE.

Anthony, who was born and brought up in West Hampstead, has nabbed the gong in this year’s New Year’s Honours list.

He can now add it to a string of prestigious achievements, including a UN award for his work in African countries including Rwanda and Kenya.

There, the 32-year-old has worked tirelessly to improve the lot of disabled children, so that they can be schooled alongside their siblings and friends.

Anthony, who was unaware he had been nominated for the award, works for charity AbleChildAfrica. The charity’s goal is to promote equal rights for disabled children in education and beyond across Africa.

He said: “I hope that this will lead to more recognition and support for this organisation so we can continue to make a difference for some of the most disadvantaged young people in Africa.”

Anthony was born with cerebral palsy and is a lifelong wheelchair user.

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He said: “I’ve just returned from Kenya and Rwanda.

“I was involved in supporting children with disabilities into education with their brothers and sisters.”

His campaigning started young, too. When he was a young child he featured in the pages of the Ham&High after his family’s successful drive to ensure Beckford Primary School was accessible to wheelchair users.

In the years since then, Anthony has spent most of his time in West Hampstead, although he was forced to go to school in Harrow because of accessibility issues.

Anthony’s mum, Catherine, paid tribute to him.

She said: “It was such a surprise. Anthony’s worked so hard for many years on this – improving education.

“He went out to a township in South Africa and wrote his dissertation on improving access to education out there, and then he got the UN award.”

Last year Anthony was named one of 17 worldwide UN Young Leaders charged with promoting sustainable development goals.

He added: “I think this OBE awarded to me is a reflection of the incredibly important work I do for AbleChildAfrica.”