Patron of Wheels for Martin’s Friends receives MBE

Rachel Furley, who recently became a patron of Wheels for Martin’s Friends, has received an MBE in this years honours list for her work with the children affected by the Chernobyl disaster.


In 2003, while a medical student at Downing College, Cambridge, Rachel set up Bridges to Belarus which helps children who continue to be affected by 1986 Chernobyl disaster.

Rachel, now 32, said: “We support 800 children and their families. We have provided beds and clothes and food parcels. These families are very poor, a lot of them have no running water. Some of them are trying to live on £5 a month. We make sure the children are fed and they go to school every day.” 

Twice a year, Rachel travels to Belarus to take out clothes, food and other goods. Her mother, Sheila has set up a summer school there for children who want to learn English.


“Some of the children are now my age and I have known them for 20 years. I know all the 800 children we help and every penny donated goes to help them. There are no overheads.”


Rachel, who uses a wheelchair because of an inherited disorder, which affects her joints and a spinal chord injury, became a patron of Wheels for Martin’s Friends in 2015, a charity set up in memory of Martin Dellar, a teenager from Guilden Morden who needed a wheelchair. The charity was formed in 1989 and although Martin is no longer with us the charity went on to help many others and has raised over £300,000 since it began. It also helped Rachel with a racing wheelchair, which she used to raise further funds for the children of Chernobyl.


For further information and help from Wheels for Martin’s Friends, please visit our web site www.wheelsformartinsfriends.org.uk.

or contact Peter Furmston on 01763852125


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Rachel Furley, seen above seated with her assistance dog Poppy with some members of the Wheels for Martin’s Friends Committee at a recent meeting in the Edward VII in Guilden Morden