ONE of Britain’s greatest Paralympic athletes – and a former Penarth pupil – has been honoured with a special Lifetime Achievement Award.

Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson, a former St Cyres pupil, was given the award at Tuesday’s 25th Birthday National Lottery Awards in London.

This is the first time The National Lottery has presented a Lifetime Achievement Award to an individual.

The athlete was presented with the award by Olympic hero Sir Chris Hoy MBE, Great Britain’s joint-most successful Olympic athlete of all time.

During her illustrious sporting career, Baroness Grey-Thompson amassed a remarkable medal haul over 16 years.

She won a total of 16 Paralympics medals, including 11 golds, held over 30 world records, and won the London Marathon six times.

After her retirement from competition in 2007, she became a television presenter and a coach and mentor to young athletes, both disabled and able-bodied.

Baroness Grey-Thompson said: “I am absolutely honoured and thrilled to be announced as the first ever recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award.

“I owe a huge debt of gratitude to the National Lottery for supporting me during my career as an athlete and for helping me to achieve my sporting dreams and inspire other people to take part in sport.

"The introduction of National Lottery funding for athletes all those years ago not only allowed me to focus on what I loved doing and reach my full potential, but it also helped revolutionise Paralympic sport across the board.

"I would like to sincerely extend my thanks to The National Lottery for nominating me for this amazing accolade.”

Sir Chris Hoy MBE said: “It was an honour to present Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson with the Lifetime Achievement Award.

"She has cemented herself as one of our greatest sporting icons and is a national treasure who has achieved a tremendous amount in both sport and politics.

"Her numerous successes were often world firsts. She truly is a heroine who has broken down so many barriers for disability sport and has been a source of inspiration for generations of athletes throughout the UK and the world.”