Emma Evans has been awarded an MBE for her services to goalball, recognising her outstanding contribution to the sport for blind and partially sighted athletes. Emma has a long history with the sport, which includes coaching and playing with Fen Tigers Goalball Club and volunteering, refereeing and fundraising for Goalball UK; the national governing body and charity for the sport.
She first became involved when one of her sons started playing and supported him as he went on to compete at elite club level and represent Great Britain. This inspired Emma and her family to form Fen Tigers in their hometown of March, Cambridgeshire.
Since then, the club has gone from strength to strength becoming one of the most decorated goalball clubs in the country, which has created many goalball opportunities for local visually impaired people to help keep active, connect with their peers and harness the power of team sport.
With Emma at the helm, she guided Fen Tigers in a coaching capacity to international success at the 2019 Malmö Open European Goalball tournament, taking home the gold medal to become European Parasport Games Champions. In 2021, Fen Tigers will also become the first British club to participate in the Super European Goalball League after being invited as reigning British Elite League Champions.
Off the court, Emma has tirelessly promoted goalball and raised over £77,000 for Goalball UK. She has also supported Goalball UK through refereeing at domestic tournaments and providing its staff with training.
In her role as a civil servant, Emma has promoted the sport throughout government, working with the likes of the Civil Service Sports Council, the Charity for Civil Servants and the Visual Network to provide opportunities for civil servants to experience the sport. Here Emma also provides support as a mentor for those in the public sector with a visual impairment, helping to navigate career choices.
Before the coronavirus pandemic, Emma was preparing to host a pilot goalball session in London for civil servants to provide a unique opportunity for them to experience the sport first-hand, with the aim for this to be rolled out across the country.
Speaking about the MBE, Emma said: “It is such an honour to be awarded an MBE for my work in goalball. When I received the letter, I thought it was a hoax!
“Over the years this sport has given me the opportunity to meet so many incredible people that inspire me to do what I do. Without them this achievement would not have been possible and for me this honour is for the entire goalball community. This amazing sport has sparked our family a new passion. I will always be grateful to the sport for what it has given my family and how it has enabled me to support my boys in their goalball journeys.
“To be part of the goalball community and its sense of comradery is remarkable. Being awarded an MBE has given me even more determination to do my part growing and supporting goalball. As a community we want as many blind and partially sighted people and their families as possible to experience its transformative power.”