“I’m deeply honoured and accept this on behalf of the whole sport. We’re so lucky to have a huge number of people giving their time and skills to help others enjoy table tennis. They are the driving force behind our sport and I and everyone else at Table Tennis England will continue to do everything we can to help and support them.
“I also want to pay huge credit to all the staff, past and present, who work so hard as they truly believe that table tennis positively impacts so many people’s lives.
“I was very surprised to receive the letter informing me, speechless really. Especially at such a difficult time for the country it is hard to put into context. But table tennis will not only survive but I am convinced can thrive in a post-covid society. And with this weekend also being a focus on mental health we know that playing table tennis wherever and however can really be a boost.” – Table Tennis England Chief Executive, Sara Sutcliffe
An MBE – Member of the Order of the British Empire – is the third highest ranking Order of the British Empire award, given as a result of outstanding contributions to public service.
This is the culmination of Sutcliffe’s 20 years of working in sport including at the British Olympic Association and board roles at British Gymnastics and GB Taekwondo.
Sutcliffe played a key role in the Every Sport Matters campaign which called for unfunded sports to be given a guaranteed base level of funding to help them finance high-performance programmes aimed ultimately at qualifying and being competitive on the Olympic and Paralympic stage.
The campaign resulted in the creation of the UK Sport Aspiration Fund and the awarding of finance to a total of 15 sports, including table tennis.
Sutcliffe has recently been helping to lead a campaign putting pressure on the Government to ensure sports halls are used for indoor sports as the country continues to emerge from lockdown.
“I am absolutely delighted that Sara has been awarded an MBE for her services to table tennis. Since her appointment almost seven years ago, the Governing Body has had an immense transformation and become a professional organisation. Her leadership is centred around the needs of all aspects of the association. This has resulted in strong operational concepts which have taken sport to the next level.
“The award is also a recognition for table tennis but make no mistake it is about the immense respect Sara has in the whole of the sporting industry – congratulations!” – Sandra Deaton, Table Tennis England Chairman