We are very excited to announce that Kelda has been included on the New Year Honours List 2021, with an MBE for her work with Climbing Out!
Kelda said, “There are many people who have played a part in my journey, but there are four in particular who stand out as being fundamental in shaping my path. They have nurtured, mentored and supported me and I feel this MBE isn’t a reward for the things I’ve done – it’s a reward for them – for giving me the opportunities that have brought me to this point. So, I’d like to say a big thank you to Marc Woods, Jo Hampton, Dave Bunting and Martin Hewitt.
“I first met Marc Woods on an expedition in the Himalayas for the Annapurna circuit. Marc is a single leg amputee, who lost his leg to cancer when he was 17. He went on to win numerous Paralympic medals, became a motivational speaker and trustee of the teenage cancer trust, and to me he became a mentor, guardian angel and big brother. He really helped me through my injury and at numerous points on my journey. He is an incredible guy who deserves an MBE himself!
“I used to ride for Jo Hampton when I was eventing. I was riding for her when I had the leg injury, and she was an incredible support – constantly in the hospital with me. She really helped me get back into eventing and made sure I was ready. She was a huge support through my whole eventing career and has kept in touch ever since. Again, without her, I really would have struggled to get through that difficult period.
“Marc Woods introduced me to Dave Bunting, who is an Expedition Leader and Outdoor Development Manager at Carnegie Great Outdoors. When I first came up with the idea of Climbing Out, numerous people said to me that it was never going to work – but Dave said to me, ‘We can do that – you find the young people, you source the finances and we can help deliver the programmes.’ Dave was key in the setting up and progressing of Climbing Out, and I have so much respect and gratitude for him.
“Finally, Martin Hewitt, the founder of the Adaptive Grand Slam. Martin gave me the opportunity to climb Aconcagua. Many people wouldn’t have given me a chance because of how my leg was during the training expeditions but his faith in me enabled me to take on that challenge and reach the summit, and I learned so much from the experience. It changed everything for me.
“I would also like to dedicate this honour to my Dad, who sadly died just 11 weeks before I found out about the MBE. He was always very quiet and reserved, but he really showed me how to be the person I wanted to be. I would have loved for him to know I received an MBE and I hope it would have made him proud.”
Huge congratulations Kelda!