A CWMBRAN woman has been given a British Empire Medal in the Queen’s New Year’s Honours list.

Amanda Say, 58, from Croesyceiliog has received the award for services to people with disabilities in Wales.

Ms Say is wheelchair bound due to a degenerative neurological condition and a car accident. Despite this, she has been an active member of her community and helping other disabled people to achieve their dreams.

“I’m very surprised,” Ms Say said of her honour.

“I didn’t expect it at all, and I have no idea who put my name forward.”

Ms Say is an avid horse rider and has competed in dressage competitions at national level. For the past 13 years she has been one of the best coaches for disabled riders and has helped many of them to achieve their goals – whether at improving their confidence or competing at national level or any other goal in between.

The United Counties Riding for the Disabled is a network that brings therapy, achievement and social connections to more than 25,000 members across the UK. It is supported by volunteers like Ms Say.

“We take riders from all over South Wales to a venue in Carmarthen which has all the facilities needed to accommodate people of all disabilities.

“We help anyone that we can, and we organise the transport.

“I want to give other people the opportunity to do what they can and not to let a disability get in the way.”

Ms Say is shocked at the nomination as she believes that the group of volunteers, she is part of work together as a team.

“It’s a wonderful group of people, we get lots of support. We all work as a team, which is why I’m so surprised that I have been given this award.

“The group has helped me to complete my own ambitions – allowing me to coach other riders.”

Outside of the riding, she is also a street pastor, rail pastor, district treasurer for scouts and has been part of the South Wales Police Disability Forum.

“It is challenging as I have care and need to fit things in around that and what I am able to do but everybody can do something and it should be encouraged to try and do what you can and not let disability get in the way."