Award category: Role Model

This award recognises a disabled public figure who has used their platform to affect change. Role models could be celebrities or professional leaders with an ability to reach lots of people directly or indirectly through their role.

Winner

Nominees in this award category

Dr Amo Raju OBE DL

Amo smiles for the camera. He wears a pale coloured suit.

Dr Amo Raju OBE DL

The social entrepreneur, activist and writer Dr Amo Raju OBE DL is Group CEO of Disability Direct, which he formed in 1997. In 2023 Amo was made an OBE in the King’s Birthday Honours list, for services to disabled people, carers and mental health.

Amo’s 2021 memoir, Walk Like A Man, tells his story of living with cerebral palsy and depression. He promotes disability awareness to employers, service providers and anyone serious about improving their offer to disabled people.

Ellie Simmonds

Ellie smiles for the camera. She wears a white top with ruffled sleeves.

Ellie Simmonds

Ellie Simmonds brings disability issues into the mainstream. Since retiring from swimming the gold medal winning Paralympian has become a regular on television, including appearances on popular entertainment shows such as Strictly Come Dancing and The Great Celebrity Bake-Off.

In her documentary for ITV – Finding My Secret Family – Ellie talked about her experiences of being adopted, and disability and adoption more generally. She acts as a catalyst for much needed discussion and helps craft new narratives that change perceptions of disability.

Fats Timbo

Fats smiles in front of a bright yellow background. She wears a grey turtleneck jumper.

Fats Timbo

Fats Timbo is a creator, comedian, author, and educator who uses humour in her disability activism. She has over 2.3 million followers on her social channels. Fats has appeared on Channel 4’s Stand Up to Cancer, Celebrity Gogglebox and BBC’s Laugh Lessons.

In 2023 Fats was voted Glamour’s Woman of the Year and was a cover star of Vogue’s disabled talent issue. She also published her first book, Main Character Energy: 10 Commandments For Living Life Fearlessly.

Saida Ahmed

Saida poses for the camera. She wears a pale pink top.

Saida Ahmed

Saida Ahmed is an actor and writer. Recent credits include a lead role in Jerk (BBC 3), the title role in Mo <3 Kyra (Film4), a guest appearance in Brassic (Sky). Stage work includes the title character in Little Miss Burden (the Bunker Theatre) and Notes to The Forgotten She-Wolves (The Globe).

Saida also writes poetry. And speaks of her experiences as a Black, South Asian, disabled woman with cerebral palsy working in the creative arts.

Sinéad Burke

Sinéad smiles in front of a bright blue background. She wears a pink suit.

Sinéad Burke

Sinéad Burke, founder of the accessibility consultancy Tilting the Lens, advocates for disability equality and representation, particularly in fashion, media, and education. Through this platform she ignites conversations about inclusivity in design and society, while inspiring disabled people to embrace their identities.

In 2023 Sinéad collaborated with British Vogue on its May issue, titled Reframing Fashion. With five different covers, each featuring a disabled person, the magazine showcased 19 disabled people from fashion, sport, the arts and activism.

Judges of this award category