A MALVERN sports volunteer has been recognised in The Queen’s New Year Honours list for her services to the visually impaired (VI).
Dina Murdie, 75, has been awarded the British Empire Medal after being nominated for the accolade by Goalball UK, the governing body for the only sport specifically designed for blind and VI athletes where she has volunteered for more than 30 years.
Starting out as a PE teacher in the 1970s, Dina has been involved in VI sport for nearly 50 years ever since her time at Chorleywood College for Girls with Little or No Sight and New College Worcester, a residential school for the blind.
Instrumental in establishing the first Great Britain women’s Goalball team, Dina has been at dozens of international tournaments including the 1988 Seoul, Barcelona 1992 and London 2012 Paralympic Games.
Through the 1980s, 1990s and into the new millennium she was at the forefront of the development of VI sport.
She created the annual inter-school swimming gala, now run by British Blind Sport, and worked with the British Ski Club of the Disabled to take hundreds of VI students and adults on ski trips over 33 years.
Dina said: “I’m utterly delighted to have been recognised in the honours list.
“It has been a privilege to be part of the VI community these past 50 years.
“Things have certainly changed for the better and it’s an honour to have played some part in this.
“I’ve been involved in goalball for three decades, and I’ve treasured every moment.
“While I may start to take a step back, I’ve been able to see generations of players find their feet as athletes and it has been remarkable to see how goalball transforms lives.”
Mark Winder, chief executive of Goalball UK, said Dina was an ‘inspirational asset’ in the VI community and there was no possible way of quantifying her ‘considerable’ impact over the last 50 years.
He added her involvement in goalball for more than 30 years had been ‘critical’ to the development of the sport and acted as a ‘key driver’ to ensure continued growth.
“There are thousands more blind and visually impaired people who have a better quality of life thanks to Dina’s dedication.
“There can’t be many people in the country who have had the same impact on so many people.”
Becky Ashworth, national development officer at Goalball UK, said: “Her passion for the sport is apparent every time she enters a sports hall.
“From driving players to the airport and refereeing at Paralympic tournaments, to training coaches and helping new players with their first steps into the game, she has made a major contribution at every level of the sport.
“Not only is Dina regularly supporting VI people in this country but she is also inspiring players internationally.
“I’ve had many teams approach me at European and World tournaments to say how much of a role model she is.”