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Anne Wafula Strike MBE

Athlete, Author and inspirational speaker Anne Wafula Strike MBE is a Harlow-based British Paralympic wheelchair racer. Born in Mihuu, Kenya, she contracted polio at the age of two, resulting in a later Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital diagnosis of below T7 paralysis. Anne is a good friend of MSRRF’s Dave Farham and was delighted to accept an offer from the charity’s board of trustees to become a patron of MSRRF.

Anne Wafula Strike

Born in Mihu, Kenya, to Nekesa Ruth and Athumani Wafula in 1969, Anne was a  fit and healthy child before polio struck when she was two years old. She was given the middle name of Olympia at birth, a title of prophetic significance for the future and   prescient of hurdles she would face in forthcoming years.

Superstitious villagers believed the family were cursed following Anne’s partial recovery from illness, forcing the Wafulas to relocate to Athumani’s military barracks in Nairobi.

Anne attended Joyland School for the Physically Handicapped, a Salvation Army institute with an excellent reputation for education.

A four-hour drive meant residency and separation from her parents. In 1979, further tragedy visited the family with the premature death of Anne’s mother Nekesa Ruth.

After completing A-levels and graduating from Moi University with a Bachelor of Education degree, Anne taught at Machakos
Technical College in 1998, before meeting Norman Strike, the man she was to marry. Norman was working in Kenya as a teacher for the Voluntary Service Overseas Project. This led Anne to Britain, motherhood, and wheelchair   
racing.
2004 marked the beginning of an Olympic career when Anne became the first
wheelchair racer from East Africa to compete at the Paralympics in Athens.
Anne Wafula Strike MBE

Following an application for British citizenship in 2006, Anne joined Team GB and in 2007 was officially recognised by the Queen at a Buckingham Palace  reception for her work as a disabled athlete and for involvement in charity work for people with disabilities. Anne was to return to Buckingham Palace in 2014 to be awarded an MBE of which she said “It’s a huge honour and blessing to be named in Her Majesty's Birthday Honours to be a Member Of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (MBE) for services to disability sport and charity work. This recognition is not just for me but for all of those that have
 given me opportunities to give something back to society.”

Anne goes on to say “It's not everyday that your name appears in the London Gazette. My name was in because I had the great privilege of being named in the Queen's Birthday Honours List when I received an MBE on Saturday, 14th June, 2014. To say I feel deeply honoured would be an understatement. I still can't believe it! I found when I received a letter from the Cabinet Office asking me if I would accept the award. I had to ask if he thought it was really me they meant to address the letter to. It was real. Trying to keep such a secret was really, really hard. I didn't even tell my son Tim in case he told his friends and it leaked out. Anyway, I am so proud  It just goes to show what even someone from a humble background like my own can achieve. I am blessed!”

In My Dreams I Dance

'In My Dreams I Dance' – Anne Wafula Strike

"How one woman battled prejudice and setbacks to become a champion" (An independent review)

Anne’s life story ‘In My Dreams I Dance’ is a powerful auto-biographical account of adversity, endurance, and accomplishment. A natural storyteller with an excellent command of language, Anne’s journey from Kenya to Britain is punctuated with anecdotes of prejudice, friendship, and motherhood, leading to triumph over testing circumstances.’

Ronan Keating of Boyzone chose Anne’s autobiography as book of the month when appearing as a guest reviewer on BBC’s My Story’

 

 

 

 

 

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