Tom Williams, the founder of Bristol-based disability charity Legs4Africa, has been honoured with a British Citizen Award medal as recognition for his ongoing commitment and dedication to his work. Legs4Africa aims to provide amputees across sub-Saharan Africa with prosthetic limbs, which are often saved from landfill in countries such as the UK, USA, Canada and Australia.
On Thursday, 7th July, Tom was invited, along with 34 other honoured recipients, to a prestigious medal presentation ceremony and afternoon tea held in the Palace of Westminster in London.
Prior to the presentation, the recipients of the award were also treated to an open-top bus ride ‘lap of honour’ around some of London’s most iconic sights. Later in the day, medallists took part in the Certificate of Honour presentation at Church House and made a short acceptance speech.
The British Citizen Award is a platform designed to recognise individuals in the community for making a positive impact on society, community or specialist groups. Tom’s fine work in not only founding Legs4Africa, but establishing it as a charity that has helped recycle and distribute thousands of prosthetic limbs to recipients across Ghana, The Gambia, Kenya and Uganda, as well as other parts of sub-Saharan Africa, marked him out as a worthy medallist.
Tom said of his prize: “I am delighted to receive a British Citizen Award. It is an honour and a testament to the hard work of everyone associated with Legs4Africa.
“Legs4Africa was founded back in 2013 because I saw first-hand that change needed to be made. There are an estimated 45,000 people in England who rely on prosthetic limbs.
“We are extremely fortunate to have the NHS and we will be forever grateful for their service but unfortunately, it’s not so easy to obtain prosthetics in The Gambia or Tanzania. Our work allows us to open up the conversation around limb loss and improve quality of life for so many people.”
In the UK, approximately 5,000 prosthetic legs end up in landfills every year and thanks to Legs4Africa’s work, the charity is helping to drastically reduce this number. This figure is made even more appalling when compared to the 1.7 million amputees in Africa that are in dire need of a prosthetic limb to help them live independently.
The medal was given just as Tom is gearing up for Legs4Africa’s second collection drive of 2022. The first, held across the UK in January of this year, saw a huge 600 limbs donated. Many of these are now with amputees across sub-Saharan Africa, and are enabling people to have a better quality of life.
Of the upcoming August collection, Tom said: “January’s collection went amazingly well! We travelled from Scotland to Bristol, collecting prosthetics from rehabilitation centres and clinics everywhere.
“We are hoping to recover a similar amount of prosthetics in August and are putting the word out there as we speak, letting everyone know we will come to you to collect any donations you would like to make to us.”
Legs4Africa has also been working hard around the world in 2022, with shipments sent from France and Australia to Africa with hundreds of prosthetic limbs on board. By 2025, the charity aims to be working with more limb fitting centres across Europe, Canada, the USA and Australia to recycle unused and returned prosthetics. Additionally, there are plans afoot to help increase the mental health and wellbeing services currently offered by professionals and volunteers in sub-Saharan Africa.
If you would like to get involved with Legs4Africa or donate a prosthetic limb during the August collection drive, please visit www.legs4africa.org or follow on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram at @Legs4Africa.
For media enquiries please contact Conor Davies on email@example.com.
Notes to editors
Legs4Africa is a registered charity (charity number 1158697) based in Bristol in the UK. The charity was founded in 2013 by Tom Williams after his trip to The Gambia. Tom was introduced to a gentleman who needed a prosthetic leg urgently, and his search began. Once back in the UK, Tom was able to successfully source a leg for Paul. In the process, he discovered that access to affordable prosthetic legs was a problem faced by over a million people with limb differences on the African continent.
Since then, Legs4Africa has sent enough prosthetic leg parts to build or repair over 10,000 limbs – working with hospitals in the UK, the USA, Canada, France and Australia, with further opportunities arising across Europe. The charity collects used prosthetic legs, which under current European Union law, cannot be re-used in the United Kingdom.
The prosthetic legs are then shipped to African countries such as The Gambia, Ghana and Uganda, where they can be modified for, and used by people with limb differences. Alongside this recycling programme, Legs4Africa works closely with in-country partners to improve services, create opportunities and ensure amputees have everything they need in order to live independent lives.