On 30th December, the annual New Year Honours lists announced 1,196 awards recognising the achievements of a wide range of extraordinary people from across the UK.

One such worthy recipient is our very own President, Martyn Lewis CBE, who receives a knighthood in recognition of his exceptional service to a range of charitable and voluntary organisations.

Sharing the award

In typical style, Martyn immediately took the opportunity to dedicate his award to the “thousands of inspirational people in the voluntary sector”, saying:

“I would like to share this honour with the thousands of inspirational people in the voluntary sector whom I’ve had the privilege of working with over the last three decades.

“This is a tribute to them and the difference they make to our society every single day."

Charity champion

For over 26 years, Martyn has worked tirelessly to support the work of United Response, giving us the benefit of his considerable communication skills, which he developed during his career as a highly respected journalist and news broadcaster. 

Martyn Lewis opens Krumbs Cafe surrounded by people we support in York with learning disabilities and autism
Back in 1995, Martyn opened Krumbs Café in York (now UR TEC), which provides supported employment opportunities for local people with learning disabilities and autism.

As our President, Martyn has constantly championed all aspects of our work, ensuring that the people we support with learning disabilities and mental health needs have a voice.

He has interviewed people we support alongside politicians and other influential figures at many high-profile events, including parliamentary receptions, with the aim of raising awareness of some of the most important issues disabled people face.

Martyn interviews two people we support at the 2015 aunch of our Every Vote Counts campaign
Martyn interviewed two of our UR Consultants, Ian and Jermaine, at last year's Every Vote Counts campaign launch.

Recent campaigns that have benefited from Martyn’s support include the our award-winning accessible news magazine Easy News, our voting campaign Every Vote Counts and creative campaign Postcards from the Edges.

He has also, for many years, hosted one of the highlights of our annual calendar, the much-loved United Response Christmas carol service.


We want to take this opportunity to extend our warmest congratulations to our President Martyn on his well-deserved knighthood, and thank him for his amazing and continued support.  

Diane Lightfoot, director of policy and communications.