Student honoured by ‘bionic woman’ Claire Lomas with M4Money award

Claire Lomas MBE – the first and only paralysed person to walk the London Marathon – honoured student Weronika Gogol for her achievements with an award sponsored by M4Money Credit Union.

Dubbed the ‘bionic woman’ by media because she completed the 2012 marathon in a pioneering ReWalk robotic suit, Claire presented awards to Weronika and other winners chosen from amongst Uxbridge College’s full-time and part-time learners and its employer partners.

Weronika, 18, was the winner of the Star Award for Business. Weronika was chosen for the award for excellent attitude, hard work and achievements. She was one of the first in her group to complete the BTEC L3 Extended Diploma in Business with top grades and has now progressed on to Uxbridge College’s Business HND (Higher National Diploma) – HNDS offer successful students a route to university, with many entering degrees in the final year.

Claire, who presented the awards, is paraplegic – paralysed from the chest down but able to use her arms – after a horse riding accident, but in 2012 she became the first and only paralysed person to walk the London Marathon, which took her 17 days and raised £210,000 for Spinal Research. She also made headlines when she was banned from the Vitality London 10k race after organisers said UK Athletics rules prohibited the use of motors, but was later allowed to take part unofficially. She lit the Paralympic cauldron in Trafalgar Square in 2012, has raised more than £500,000 for the Nicholls Spinal Injury Foundation, has written and published her autobiography Finding My Feet, takes part in motorbike racing using only hand controls, and was made an MBE this year.

Principal of Uxbridge College, Laraine Smith OBE, said: “Our Annual Awards event was a fantastic opportunity to celebrate the achievements of our students and employer partners, and we would like to say a huge thank you to Claire Lomas for coming along to present the awards. Claire’s story shows exactly how far courage, determination and hard work can get you and the same applies to those honoured by awards this year at Uxbridge College’s ceremony. And whilst many of our award winners have succeeded with high grades in academic and work-related training, it is also their personal stories that give their achievements such meaning. Congratulations to everyone who has received awards this year.”

The event, held at The Beck Theatre in Hayes, recognised winners from across the College’s academic and vocational programmes – including GCSEs, A-levels, BTEC qualifications, Apprenticeships and HNDs – and from among the 1,000 employers the College works with.