Hft | Charity worker to attend Royal Garden Party at Buckingham Palace

2018-05-08 12:16:30

A charity service manager from Market Harborough who has dedicated his life to supporting people with learning disabilities has been invited to Buckingham Palace in recognition of his efforts.


For the last 35 years Mick Hilliam has worked as a support worker at Hft, a national charity which supports adults with learning disabilities. Outside of his paid role, he has dedicated many hours to Special Olympics GB, enabling young people and adults with a learning disability to participate in athletics.

As a thank-you for his dedication, Mick’s manager Viv Smith nominated him for an invitation to a Royal Garden party.

He will be among several thousand people invited to the event on Tuesday 15 May, the first of three Buckingham Palace Garden Parties taking place this summer. Guests are free to eat, drink and take a stroll around the Palace gardens, and may also have the chance to speak to members of the Royal Family.

As Team Manager of Hft’s Occupation and Employment services in Market Harborough, Mick oversees day services for adults with learning disabilities, and supports them with everything from researching potential employment opportunities to preparing for interviews. He has also been highly involved with the Special Olympics, coaching an athletics club every Friday evening since 1987 and never missing a session until his retirement from coaching this year.

The stand-out moment for him came in the early 90s, when he supported a group of 12 athletes to attend the Special Olympics National Games in India.

Mick said that the invitation to the Royal Garden Party came out of the blue.

“I was completely surprised. It’s the kind of thing you see other people doing, but never expect to do yourself. I’m really looking forward to the day.”

This is not the first time that Mick’s commitment has been recognised. In 2017 he was named ‘Volunteer of the Year’ at Hft’s annual Fusion Awards, which reward people who go above and beyond to enhance the lives of the people they support.

Hft Divisional Director, Viv Smith, said:

“I’m really pleased that Mick’s been recognised in this way. He’s very unassuming and doesn’t expect anything in return for what he does, but he’s given up every Friday night for the last 30 years to coach people with learning disabilities, and has made an enormous difference to their lives.”

Notes to editors

For further information please phone 0117 906 1697 or email media.enquiries@hft.org.uk

About Hft

Hft is a national charity that creatively supports more than 2,200 adults with learning disabilities across England and Wales to live the best life possible. Services range from residential care to supporting people to live independently in their own homes – from a few hours a week to 24 hours a day. Hft also helps people with learning disabilities to take part in daily activities, make friends and develop relationships and to find work.

Established in 1962, Hft is funded in two ways: through local authorities, who fund vital support services, but also through donors, supporters and volunteers who enable us to find new ways to help more people to thrive rather than just get by.

For more information about Hft please visit www.hft.org.uk

Location: Hft Leicestershire