Hereford & Worcester

Polio campaigner recognised in Queen's Birthday Honours

Jeff Hall and Dawn Clements Image copyright BBC/Penny Illsley
Image caption Dawn Clements urged people to get vaccinated after the death of Jeff Hall (left)

A woman credited with raising awareness of polio's dangers after her footballer husband died has been included in the Queen's Birthday Honours list.

Dawn Clements, who has died aged 79, urged people to get vaccinated after the death of England and Birmingham City footballer Jeff Hall in 1959.

Mrs Clements, from Kidderminster, Worcestershire, has been posthumously awarded a British Empire Medal.

Her second husband, Allen Clements, said she was "proud" to be honoured.

Mr Hall died from the disease at the peak of his career aged 29. Take-up of the polio vaccine had been slow in the 1950s but Mrs Clements' campaign is credited with inspiring people to get vaccinated.

Mrs Clements, who died at the end of last month, has been posthumously awarded a British Empire Medal for services to the promotion of polio immunisation.

Mr Clements, 74, said he would receive the honour on her behalf.

Image copyright Penny Illsley
Image caption The British Polio Fellowship presented Dawn Clements with its most prestigious honour, the Barbara Wood Award, in 2014 at Birmingham City's St Andrew's ground

He said: "She was... proud that somebody had thought about her for what she'd done... She didn't ask for any reward.

"All she was thinking about was her fellow human beings. She would give you the last penny out of her purse. She was an angel."

He said she was asked to go on TV and radio to publicise the issue because her first husband, who was killed by polio "in a matter of days," was a "well-known personality".

Mr Clements said: "It was a huge achievement. After she went on TV and radio, people were queuing up in droves outside doctors... to be immunised."

The British Polio Fellowship said there are many people alive and well "who owe her a huge debt of gratitude".

Her funeral will be held at St Alphege Church, Solihull, on 16 June.

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