Claire Lomas is hoping being made an MBE in the Queen’s New Year’s Honours list will encourage even more people to support her quest to help fund a cure for paralysis.
The 36-year-old, from Eye Kettleby, had to keep the news a secret for six weeks from all but her loved ones.
She was nominated after raising more than £500,000 for the Nicholls Spinal Injury Foundation (NSIF) with a series of gruelling sponsored challenges despite being paralysed from the chest down following a riding accident almost 10 years ago.
When Claire, who is expecting her second child next month, received the letter she admitted it was a complete shock.
“I had just got back from cycling training when I opened the letter and it was just really exciting,” she said.
“I feel very honoured because this is such a prestigious award to receive.
“It’s also a lovely boost for my charity work and it will help raise the profile of the foundation.”
It was difficult for Claire to keep it a secret when she found out about the MBE, which was announced on Saturday night alongside others in the honours list such as tennis star Andy Murray and athlete Jessica Ennis-Hill.
She told only her husband Dan, daughter Maisie and her mum and dad before the news came out.
Claire will receive her medal later this year from the Queen or another prominent member of the royal family at either Buckingham Palace or Windsor Castle.
She added: “I told them I was expecting a baby soon so hopefully the investiture will not be until the summer.
“I have met Princess Anne and Zara Phillips when I was competing and it would be lovely to receive my medal from the Queen.”
Claire completed last year’s Great North Run in a robotic suit, four years after achieving a similar feat over the 26 miles of the London Marathon course.
She has organised more charity events this year in support of NSIF, including the second Road2Recovery half marathon and fun runs near her home at the Eye Kettleby Lakes in June, and plans to write a second book about her remarkable life.
* Cricket commentator Jonathan Agnew, who lives at Scalford, also received an MBE in the New Year’s Honours list, for his services to broadcasting
The former Leicestershire CCC and England bowler found out when his wife Emma surprised him with a letter about it when she joined him in December in India, where he was commentating on the Test series for Test Match Special (TMS).
He said: “Although personally it is very uplifting, this is very much a team effort and I must pass my grateful thanks to my Test Match Special colleagues, past and present.”
Jonathan, who has also commentated at the last two Olympic Games, said he was indebted to the support of TMS colleagues Peter Baxter, Adam Mountford and Sir Geoffrey Boycott, and to the late Brian Johnson, who he said gave him the confidence to express himself freely on air.
He added: “Finally, of course, my thanks go to Emma for her love, support and her many kicks up the backside.”