March 29 - Sir Philip Craven, President of the International Paralympic Committee (IPC), has been appointed to the rank of Officer in the Ordre National de la Legion d'Honneur by French President François Hollande, the highest decoration a person can receive in France.
The appointment to the most prestigious French national order is also a tribute to the 63-year-old's involvement in the success of the London 2012 Paralympic Games, which attracted unprecedented global attention.
"I am absolutely humbled and thrilled to receive such a decoration from the French President and Grand Chancelier which recognises my role within the IPC and the Paralympic Movement," said Sir Philip.
"France is a key part of my life.
"Not only did I play wheelchair basketball there as a youngster, but it is also where I met my wife Jocelyn.
"Today, we still own a property there and the country has had a huge influence on both my working and private life.
"This award is very rarely presented to anyone outside of France and to be one of the very few to ever have received this great distinction is a huge personal honour which I cannot put into words.
"I believe it recognises not only my work but that of every single person within the Paralympic Movement."
The award, normally reserved for French nationals, was handed to Sir Philip by Grand Chancelier de la Légion d'Honneur, General Jean-Louis Georgelin, at a special ceremony in London, organised by the French Ambassador to the UK Bernard Emié, at the French Embassy.
"Sir Philip, you're one of those outstanding figures whose action has helped inspire generations of young sportspeople all over the world," Georgelin said during the ceremony.
"You've done crucial work on developing high-level sport for disabled people.
"Thanks to the Paralympic Games, this area of sport is experiencing unprecedented interest in France.
"French sporting bodies for people with disabilities, as well as the French athletes themselves, unanimously recognise and appreciate your work.
"But, Sir Philip, it's above all the tremendous success of the London 2012 Paralympic Games that have earned you this high distinction.
"Their unprecedented global impact, on the French public in particular, owes a huge amount to your extraordinary personality and the energy you invested along with your companions, the musketeers of LOCOG (London Organising Committee for the Olympic and Paralympic Games): in particular Lord Deighton and Lord Coe."
"If the London Olympics were an extraordinary success, the Paralympics that followed them were an unprecedented triumph."
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