Mallusk man honoured with BEM for dedication to disability sports

Barry Macaulay, chairperson Disability Sport NI.
Barry Macaulay, chairperson Disability Sport NI.

A Mallusk man has spoken of his pride on being awarded a BEM in recognition of his services to disability sports.

Barry Macaulay, who was named in the Queen’s New Year Honours list, has been involved in the sector for 27 years.

Barry Macaulay and Thomas Quigley with a tandem bike.

Barry Macaulay and Thomas Quigley with a tandem bike.

His passion and dedication has made a significant impact within disability sports, providing lots of new opportunities for people with a disability to get involved in sports.

Barry said: “This truly is a great honour and one that I will be very proud to receive. I have always been deeply passionate about supporting people with a disability and creating opportunities for people with a disability and long term health conditions to get involved in sport and active recreation.

“I have met so many inspirational people through my experiences and I plan to continue playing an active role in the disability sports sector and supporting people with a disability for a long time to come.”

Barry has tirelessly supported charitable organisations through a number of voluntary roles, most significantly as board member of Disability Sport NI between 2009 and 2017 including undertaking the roles of vice chairperson and then chairperson between 2012 and 2017. Through this role Barry poured heart and soul into the charity to ensure its sustainability and to help create a strong disability sports sector in the province.

Kevin O’Neill, chief executive officer of Disability Sport NI, said: “It is fantastic to see the great work that Barry has dedicated his life to recognised through this prestigious award. Barry played a vital role within Disability Sport NI and helped to make it the charity that it is today.

“I would like to offer a sincere congratulations to Barry on behalf of everyone at Disability Sport NI.”

Barry also championed inclusive participation in sport as a board member of Sport NI between 2008 and 2014. He was a strong advocate of sport for blind people through his links with the Blind Centre for NI, NI Blind Sports, RNIB, Jordanstown Schools and set up the visually impaired football programme with the IFA.

Not one to shy away from a challenge or an adventure, Barry has organised several trips for people with sight loss including a tandem cycle the length of Ireland from Mizen to Malin and a climb up Ben Nevis.

He also regularly acted as sighted pilot for people with sight loss to enjoy tandem cycling across many clubs and as a sighted guide for runners with sight loss.

Having spent the earlier part of his career working as a social worker for children and adults with a disability, Barry went on to develop a strong career with RNIB NI.

He is currently director of The Stroke Association in NI where he continues to champion physical activity and the associated health benefits for people with a disability and long-term conditions.