A visually impaired pensioner who has campaigned for disabled rights has been recognised in the Queen’s New Year’s Honours list.

Michael Tupper, 75, who has struggled with his eyesight all of his life, has been awarded a British Empire Medal for his voluntary work.

Clitheroe man Michael, who is visually impaired, has been pivotal in securing the NHS Accessible Information Standards as well as working with East Lancashire Hospital trusts to make documents more accessible after he was sent a letter which he was unable to read.

His campaigning has been instrumental in ensuring blind and partially sighted people have the right to their health information in a format they can access, be it digital, braille, large print, or audio.

Michael said: “It's absolutely wonderful - something I certainly never expected to get in my life.

“I wasn’t working to get it, I did what I did to volunteer and help other people.

“I’m totally humbled by it and it’s just a fantastic experience.”

As a member of the Visually Impaired Forum of Lancashire, Michael works with other blind and partially sighted people, local councillors, policy makers and town planners to ensure changes to street designs would not create barriers for people with sight loss.

He also works with the NHS to ensure health service commissioners, providers and professionals understand the importance of implementing the standard, and has highlighted the need for increased capacity in eye care services, to ensure people do not face delayed treatment which can cause permanent sight loss.

Michael added: “I’ve always tried to do things for visually impaired people. I have been working with Royal National Institute of Blind People for about 17 years volunteering and campaigning.

“I have been working with East Lancashire Hospitals Trust for some time now to help get the NHS Accessible Information Standards well implemented but because of Covid, we have been delayed for the past 18 months.

“I’m sure after Covid we will get things where they need to be.”

Michael is currently involved in the development of a street charter for Preston which will improve the accessibility of the area for the whole community.