In the New Year’s Honours List – published today – a Penarth resident Caroline Mary MATTHEWS has been listed to receive an MBE for services to Wheelchair Basketball in the UK.
Today Ms Matthews said “It’s an incredible honour and a privilege to have been awarded an MBE. I never thought something like this would happen to me. I’m absolutely thrilled.”
Speaking on behalf of Wales Wheelchair Basketball Association, Chair, Lou Englefield, said “We are delighted that Caroline has been honoured in this way. Those who know Caroline will understand how richly deserved this recognition is. A founding officer of the association, a Paralympian and outstanding coach, Caroline has made a huge impact on our sport in Wales.”
Ms Matthews egan her wheelchair basketball career 18 years ago in Bristol. At that time there were no clubs in Wales, so she was forced to commute from her hometo play the sport she loved. Unhappy with the lack of provision locally, however, in 2002 Caroline established Cardiff Celts Wheelchair Basketball Club (now Cardiff Met Archers) alongside Disability Sports Development Officer, Jo Coates-McGrath.
As a player, Caroline gained 125 caps for Great Britain and represented GB at both Athens (2004) and Beijing (2008) Summer Paralympics.
In 2015 she became only the second wheelchair basketball coach in the UK to achieve the prestigious grade 3 wheelchair basketball coaching qualification and in the same year, lead the Wales U23 team to victory in the Celtic Cup, beating Scotland and Northern Ireland.
Subsequently Caroline became one of three founding officers of Wales Wheelchair Basketball Association and has occupied the role of Secretary since the establishment of the association in July 2017. In January this year she took up her latest role as U19 Head Coach for Wales.