John Flanner Presented With MBE At Buckingham Palace

Solihull-based speaker and author, John Flanner MBE, who was awarded an MBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List in 2014, went to Buckingham Palace this week to be presented with his Award.

Speaking about his trip to Buckingham Palace John Flanner, who firmly believes you play the hand you have been dealt, said:

"It was an amazing experience to go to Buckingham palace, to sense the atmosphere, to meet Princess Anne and to chat with the wonderfully friendly Royal staff.  It was also great to have my wife Sylvia there after she suffered a major stroke last year and to be accompanied by our four children Beverley, Sara, Allison and Ian, as well as our close friends Paul & Carole. 

“This is an incredible honour and I am indebted to senior managers and work colleagues at Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs in Solihull who have encouraged me and allowed me time away from my regular job to go out and about to undertake Diversity and motivational work."

John, who is a sports-mad Brummie with a love and passion for Aston Villa Football Club, developed a hereditary condition called Leber's Optic Atrophy at the age of nineteen, for which there is no cure, and was forced to face the reality of becoming permanently blind.

The MBE is recognition of John's ability to conquer fear and blindness from an early age to achieve success in his personal and professional life, and follows a National Civil Service Outstanding Achievement Award in 2006 for his services to Equality and Diversity.

The National Civil Service Diversity Awards recognise the outstanding achievements of ordinary civil servants who have made a major contribution to the development of greater diversity and equality in the Civil Service.

John was given the Outstanding Achievement Award after he single-handedly pioneered a series of transformational talks based on his life-story and successful book, ‘Fear, Fun and Faith’, that he has delivered to thousands of people nationwide.  

The judges were inspired by John’s ability and courage to overcome obstacles, learn to cope effectively with his disability, and be committed to his day job while undertaking a ‘one man’ mission to educate and engage people in diversity issues.

John is known for being very honest, with a willingness to laugh at himself, and keeps audiences entertained with the moments when he fell down a manhole and stepped off a train and missed the platform!  

John has delivered his life-changing message to businesses, the Cabinet Office and the Treasury.  John has also spoken on BBC Radio and has appeared in a ‘Fly on the Wall’ documentary on Central Television. 

John recently launched a new motivational speaking business in Solihull called ‘John Flanner MBE’.  For more information about the business contact 07717 283116, email, or visit the website at