Worthing FC owner who was paralysed in horrific accident receives an MBE

ITV News Meridian's Tony Green reports on incredible people recongised in the New Year Honours list in the South East

The owner of a football club who was left paralysed from the chest down after a horrific accident has been awarded an MBE.

George Dowell was a budding footballer until a horror car crash at the age of 17 ended life as he knew it.

Now wheelchair-bound, he realised he needed a new life plan and used the compensation he received to take control of Worthing FC, the club he used to play for.

Since 2015, the 31-year old has wiped out the club's debts, laid down a brand new 3G pitch, created a dedicated Sports Bar and Café and helped deliver vast improvements to the Woodside Road ground.

His recognition in the New Year Honours list, alongside icons like Dame Shirley Bassey and director and producer Sir Ridley Scott, is for his efforts to Association Football and Disability Awareness.

  • George says he'll probably get some stick from family and friends

In reaction to his honour George told ITV News, "It's amazing. I got involved in the club because I love football first and foremost, and I wanted to stay involved and have a purpose to my life.

"I was kind of stuck in a little bit of rut, not really doing anything with my life and I wanted to be involved in football so when this opportunity came up I grabbed it.

"To have this recognition sort of eight years later. It's incredible really.

George Dowell now owns the club he once played for Credit:

George initially suspected the message could be a scam, "A letter came to the club and my general manager texted me and said 'oh, you've got some post here but it looked quite official' but I didn't really think much of it and I was just going to pick it up the next time I was in.

"I then got an email saying 'you've been awarded an MBE and I thought this is obviously a scam.

"I checked the email address and then found the official email address on their website and emailed them and said, is this some sort of hoax or some scam?

"They said, 'no, no, you've been awarded an MBE'."

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