Disabled children’s charity chief from Kentish Town celebrates CBE in A&E

Virginia Beardshaw is recognised in the New Year's Honours List

Virginia Beardshaw is recognised in the New Year's Honours List - Credit: Archant

The head of a disabled children’s charity celebrated being made a CBE in memorable style - by spending an evening in the US equivalent of Accident and Emergency (A&E).

Virginia Beardshaw was awarded the gong in the New Year’s Honours List for services to children with special needs and disabilities as chief executive of I Can, a charity dedicated to improving children’s speech and language.

However, celebrations on New Year’s Eve went awry when the 62-year-old slipped on ice while on holiday in the US and fell unconscious.

“I didn’t break anything at least,” said Ms Beardshaw, of Patshull Road, Kentish Town. “Presumably I won’t slip and fall on ice at the palace and will be in a fit state!”

As chief executive of I Can, the mother-of-three campaigned for and served on Speaker John Bercow’s independent review of services for children with speech, language and communication needs in 2007 and 2008.

She was also instrumental in the foundation of the Communication Trust, a coalition of almost 50 charities working with children with speech and language needs.

Of her award, she said: “I am absolutely thrilled. You don’t really believe it.

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“I can think of people who have done many more remarkable tings who haven’t got CBEs.

“In essence, it’s an accolade for I Can and the work we do.”

Lady Elizabeth Vallance, I Can’s chair of trustees, said: “Virginia has championed speech, language and communication as the fundamental life skill for all children and has tirelessly fought for the support needed for those children and young people who struggle.”