A Cornish resident has been named within the King’s Birthday Honours List for their services to wheelchair rugby.

David Pond, 67, who lives in Kingsand, has been named to receive an MBE as part of the King’s Birthday Honours.

In 2009, David joined GB Wheelchair Rugby and over 12 years as the CEO, oversaw the transformation of the National Governing Body from a voluntary led organisation, to a professional National Governing Body.

Throughout this process, his excellent communication skills and ‘can-do’ attitude allowed him to gain the support of the membership as the sport evolved; notable, was his willingness to embrace the values that are vital to the sport, the challenges faced by those with disability, and the social and mental importance of wheelchair rugby in the lives of the players and their families.

His leadership led to significant growth in wheelchair rugby in the UK, not least enabling the sport to be played by individuals with a wider range of disability than was previously possible.

“I’ve aways enjoyed working as part of a team and this has characterised my professional and voluntary work, first as a Royal Naval Officer and for 12 years as CEO of GB Wheelchair Rugby,” David explained.

A spokesperson for the Cabinet Office said: “Perhaps David’s most notable achievement occurred when GBWR unexpectedly lost its elite level funding in December 2016 following a fifth place at the Rio Paralympics.

“Whilst the elite end of the sport is only one aspect of wheelchair rugby, it provides the opportunity for public profile and to secure essential financial support, the latter being critical to the long-term sustainability of the sport.

“He enabled GBWR to secure a variety of key sponsorship partnerships, which not only enabled the GB team to qualify for the Tokyo Paralympics but ultimately to go on and win the Gold medal - the first time a European nation had even medalled.

“He has been a strong advocate and ambassador for Paralympic sport.”

It is for this work that David has been awarded an MBE.

“It’s a joy for me to receive this award,” said David. “But I also want to thank and recognise the colleagues, volunteers and the Trustees of the charity all of whom have shared the aim of creating more and better opportunities for disabled people to take part in sport.”

When asked if he had ever expected to receive an honour such as this, David said: “To be honest it’s not something I had thought about for myself though I have written nominations for individuals I felt deserved recognition and have been delighted when they have received awards. I am genuinely touched that others felt they wanted to nominate me.”

Despite receiving this huge honour, work does not stop for David, who is now helping support those in Ukraine.

“Since the very start of the Ukraine war I have been using my NATO and military experience to support the humanitarian efforts in Ukraine.

“I am part of a network in Ukraine which included the Ukranian Defence Force, regional government officials and local NGOs. I have undertaken six missions so far delivering essential aid and support in Ukraine and am just back from Kharkiv.

“I am now working closely with those in Kherson and will be returning there in the near future to help support after the impact of flooding from the destruction of the Kakhovha dam. This is all funded from a Crowdfunder campaign which has received incredible support from the people of Cornwall raising over £100,000 this year.”