A palliative care doctor from Northolt, who works for London North West University Healthcare NHS Trust (LNWH) has been awarded an MBE for his Services to People with Disabilities.
Muhayman Jamil, a former speed skater set up Wheels and Wheelchairs so that individuals with limited mobility can take part in sport and experience and enjoy travelling at speed.
The group meets on Saturdays in Battersea Park with skaters pushing specially converted wheelchairs fitted with an extra third stabilising wheel during the two-hour sessions.
Dr Jamil said: “We zip around the park at a fair speed which is great fun. You can’t beat that buzz you get when you whizz past pedestrians, runners, and even the occasional cyclist.
The doctor added: “It is so liberating, and it gives our friends who are wheelchair users a sense of freedom they rarely get the chance to experience for themselves.”
Dr Jamil started Wheels and Wheelchairs after being asked to help plot a route that would take a group of French skaters and wheelchair users from Paris to London for the 2012 Paralympics.
He revealed: “The skating community look out for one another, so a group of us travelled with them to London. It was a real adventure and when we got to the capital someone suggested we start a similar group in the UK. The first wheelchair user we took out was a young man who was a patient at the hospice where I used to work. He was paralysed from the neck down and spent most of his days in front of the TV.”
“He had great trouble communicating verbally but after our first trip, he surprised everyone by saying how good it was to ‘feel the wind on my face again’. It just grew from there and we now have up to 100 skaters and wheelchair users who are actively involved in our activities every weekend.”
Dr Jamil, who was a keen ice skater in his youth, reconnected with the sport years later when a roller blader skated past him while he was running in Hyde Park in Central London.
He said: “It’s actually harder to skate on concrete than ice but it’s the same principle and it’s great to share that thrill with others.”