Claire meets royalty on day to remember

Claire Needs meets the Princess Royal SUS-141112-103352001
Claire Needs meets the Princess Royal SUS-141112-103352001

DISABILITY campaigner Claire Needs has told the princess royal of her work in Bognor Regis.

Claire was invited by the princess to attend the 2014 Liveability Awards to give a speech about how she strives to maintain her independence and inspire others.

Claire, 30, met the princess as part of her day at the London event.

“It was absolutely amazing to meet the princess,” she said. “She asked me what it was like living with Liveability, how long I had been with them and why I was keen on campaigning for them.”

Claire has cerebral palsy and epilepsy but said those conditions should make no difference to how people viewed her.

“I want to change the way people look at disabilities and prove to them that, despite people having a disability, it doesn’t mean they do not want to get on in their lives and be as independent as possible.

“I want to prove to others that we are the same as everyone else and that we have the same dreams and ambitions as everyone else,” she said.

Claire has lived at the Liveability-run Ashley House, in Aldwick Road, for nine years. She moved there from a college in Hampshire.

She has been one of the faces of Liveability since 2007. “I help with a lot of their fundraising campaigns,” she said.

“I was also at the forefront of our new home campaign. I’m looking forward to moving into the home in the new year.”

Claire is a familiar sight around Bognor in her electric wheelchair.

“I go out at least four times a week to Chichester and I spend a lot of time around the town,” she said.

But she had to fight to be able to continue to use her wheelchair. She was told last year she could no longer drive it because of her epilepsy.

However, she overturned the ban. Claire is looking to enjoy her refound independence by volunteering again in 2015.

She previously spent a year as a teaching assistant at Edward Bryant Primary School, four years in the Scope charity shop and two months at a nursery.