Freewheeler Ivor Jess recognised on the New Year Honours List for massive contribution to disability sport in Northern Ireland. 

    Ivor has dedicated his life to playing, promoting and fundraising for disability sports.  The Crumlin man said he was 'delighted to be chosen' for an MBE and vowed to continue his vital work. He said: "I started playing wheelchair basketball with the Knights after a spinal injury at the age of 29. “After my accident I was always very positive and I believe it is so important to get disabled people off their sofas and into sport. “It does wonders for health and fitness as well as building confidence and making new friends." While Ivor now mainly plays wheelchair tennis, with the Belfast-based Spokes In Motion Club, he continues to raise funds for a variety of sports. One of the biggest events in his calendar is the annual Freewheelers charity cycle tour/wheelchair push around Lough Neagh which raised £3,000 in 2010. However due to the specialist equipment required even a sizeable sum of money doesn't go very far. Ivor said: "I have found the local community to be extremely generous over the years and people pull out the stops for events like the Freewheelers' Lough Neagh Tour. “Unfortunately it is extremely expensive to buy the necessary equipment - a sports chair starts at about £2,000. “There is also the added cost of hiring courts and so on, you get nothing for nothing. “That is why we never stop trying to raise money by whatever means possible. “Not a penny we raise goes into overheads and we beg, steal and borrow everything we need to make fundraising events happen." With a rise in VAT and public spending cuts set to tighten people's belts even further this year, Ivor said he was confident disability sport would continue to flourish.