Founder of charity for disabled children ‘owes MBE to hard work of colleagues’

A mother-of-10 who set up a charity to help disabled children has said she owes her MBE to the hard work of her colleagues.

Lynn McManus, who has adopted five children with special needs, founded Pathways4all in 2010 to provide better play facilities for disabled children on Tyneside.

She told the PA news agency that it was “amazing, absolutely brilliant and fantastic” to meet the Princess Royal at Wednesday’s investiture ceremony at Windsor Castle.

“I felt she was interested and she was wanting to listen to what I was saying as well,” she said.

“I could not do it on my own and it is down to the dedication of the team behind me.”

Investitures at Windsor Castle
Odette Mould, founder of Harry’s Rainbow (Andrew Matthews/PA)

She added: “Nobody chooses to have a child with disabilities. It can happen to anybody.

“Having somewhere you can go and meet other families who have walked the path before you is just such a help.”

Odette Mould, from Milton Keynes, Buckinghamshire, was also made an MBE for her work as founder of Harry’s Rainbow, a charity which supports children whose parents or siblings have died.

Mrs Mould founded it after her son Harry died aged five in 2009, from a suspected asthma attack, and she found it difficult to find emotional help for his twin sister Jessica.

She took Jessica and sons Isaac, 12, and Joseph, nine, to the ceremony and told PA they were “very excited” to be there.

“It was absolutely amazing that in the 10th year of the charity, I was awarded the MBE,” she said.

“To then be here receiving it today is pretty amazing but I think more importantly it helps put bereavement services on the map and the need for bereavement services for children and their families.

Investitures at Windsor Castle
Music therapist Ben Cowley (Andrew Matthews/PA)

“There is no government funding for bereavement services, regrettably, and there’s a lack of awareness.”

Both women attended the Queen’s funeral in September after being appointed in her final birthday honours.

Ben Cowley, a music therapist, also received an MBE for his work in a Cardiff care home during the pandemic.

He hosted piano concerts in the corridors when residents could not leave their rooms, and became an ordained minister to ensure church services continued when external priests were unable to enter the home.

Mr Cowley said: “What I was doing was just adapting to that, using my music therapy skills.

“It is something I am very proud of. I am really keen to take this back to the care home.

“I’m still very close to a lot of the residents and I know they are very excited to see it so it is going to be really wonderful to take it in.

“Everybody at the care home has been super supportive and they all know first-hand what I was doing, especially the families.”