A tennis coach has been recognised at Buckingham Palace for helping to integrate young deaf people into society.
Sue Pegler from Cuckfield, was given a Fellowship in 1984 by the Winston Churchill Memorial Trust for her project Social integration of the young deaf through tennis.
Sue was among 300 of the 5000 Churchill Fellows of the last 50 years to be selected to visit Buckingham Palace on March 18. She started her project with funding from friends to hold a tennis tournament for 70 hearing, deaf and wheelchair tennis players at Ardingly College for four years.
Sue also organised a coaching programme in Eastbourne before going international.
Sue said: “Andrew Rees, an outstandingly athletic and gifted youngster from Cuckfield was my first pupil. He achieved international recognition for tennis and rugby in world events for the deaf.
“From 1999-2003 I was asked to serve on council for the trust to help choose categories and interview prospective fellows. An important role for the future.
“Meeting the Queen was such an honour, but the main memory is that 300 of us were at the palace all having worked in difference spheres at the grass roots of this country, all passionate about making a difference to people in our field of work.
“The enthusiasm and continuation of what we did and still are doing have lasted a lifetime.
“It has had a big impact not only on those we helped, but in our own life. To be presented to her Majesty and the Duke and then for them to mingle for two hours with us after we were all presented is so remarkable. What a privilege.”
Sue said the Duke of Edinburgh said sport should be used ‘to get our youngsters out, disciplined and make friends’.