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Eleanor Simmonds receives her M.B.E

When Eleanor Simmonds collected her MBE, she confirmed her place among a select band of teenage heroes and heroines.

As the Queen bent down to present her with the honour she had two simple words for the Swansea-based swimmer: “ Well done.”

Ellie’s story is one of heroic achievement. She was born with achondroplasia, or dwarfism, she started swimming at the age of five at the DAAUK National Games and went on to win gold medals in the 100m and 400m freestyle in Beijing last year, all at the age of just 13.

Ellie, now 14, said she was shocked to become the youngest ever to receive a royal honour.

“But it’s a really good feeling getting the MBE, it’s good to know the Queen honours you and the country honours you,” she said.

“The Queen said ‘well done’ and that winning the two gold medals was really good.

“Then she asked if she would see me next week at the Paralympic reception.”

Eleanor's Coach Mr Bill Pye also received the MBE yesterday. It was in recognition of the achievements of his team of eight Paralympic swimmers, all of whom train at the Wales National Pool in Swansea and who won 13 medals between them at the games.

He said coaching Ellie was easy, because of her talent and her dedication.

“We live by the philosophy that there’s no room for compromise – for us, coming second is not an option. Our team definitely has the will to win,"


23 February, 2009