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New Year’s honours: Recognition for learning disability rights campaigner

Scott Watkin, eye care and vision development officer with charity SeeAbility, awarded a British Empire Medal for his work in the learning disability community.

Scott Watkin, eye care and vision development officer with charity SeeAbility, awarded a British Empire Medal for his work in the learning disability community


Scott Watkin

A learning disability campaigner, who has learning disabilities himself, has been awarded a British Empire Medal in the New Year’s honours list.

Scott Watkin, who works as an eye care and vision development officer with charity SeeAbility and lectures nursing students, has been recognised for his work in the learning disability community.

Equal rights advocate 

He travels across the country talking to people with disabilities, giving support, advice and information on how to look after their eyes – and is an equal rights advocate for people with learning disabilities.

Adults with learning disabilities are ten times more likely to have a sight problem, and Mr Watkin has an eye condition, keratoconus, which has been corrected twice by surgery.

Mr Watkin, who lives on the Isle of Wight, holds positions on the board of Learning Disability England and as a visiting lecturer at the University of Hertfordshire.

‘Excited and honoured’

He said: ‘I’m surprised, but excited and honoured to be awarded a British Empire Medal.

‘I was told I would live in a care home and now I am married and live independently. I will continue to make sure people with learning disabilities have a voice and can make a difference.’

Mr Watkin added: ‘I would like to thank everybody who has supported me, especially my colleagues at SeeAbility. They believed in me and knew that my learning disabilities would not stop me being able to do a good job.’

SeeAbility director of external affairs Paula Spinks-Chamberlain said: ‘We’re so proud of Scott for all he has achieved. He’s rightly been recognised for his outstanding commitment to improving the lives of people with learning disabilities – in particular, to make sure no one needlessly loses their sight.’

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