Children's television presenter Justin Fletcher, aka Mr Tumble, from CBeebies Something Special programme, has received an Outstanding Achievement Award at the Shine a Light Awards 2012 for helping and supporting children in developing good communication skills.
He was also runner-up in the Communication Champion category.
In the CBeebies programme, Justin/Mr Tumble uses Makaton symbols and signs to support speech as do the children featured in the programme and those watching at home. Something Special is a mainstream programme but aimed at children with communication difficulties and these children love having their 'own' programme.
Justin Fletcher said: "A huge thank you to everyone at the Shine a Light Awards. It's a huge honour to accept this award and thank you to The Makaton Charity for nominating me."
In nominating Justin, Lysa Schwartz from The Makaton Charity, said: "What makes Justin a true communication champion is his ability to engage with all children, which appears so effortless. This belies the skill it takes to provide such a valuable role in communication development for those with profound and multiple special needs."
Judges chose Justin for the Outstanding Achievement Award for his hard work in making the programme accessible to so many children, for the vast audience he is able to reach and for his popularity among children with SLCN and their families.
Virginia Beardshaw, Chief Executive of children's charity I CAN, one of the judges who gave Justin the award, said: "It was an honour to present Justin Fletcher with an Outstanding Achievement Award at the Shine a Light Awards. Justin has been a longstanding supporter of children's speech, language and communication and The Makaton Charity. Thanks to his efforts and the CBeebies Something Special, many children in the UK, including some of the one million children with speech, language and communication needs, have been given the opportunity to learn ways to communicate and connect with those around them. I was thrilled to present this award and would like to pass I CAN's congratulations to Justin for this accolade. It was also thrilling to get everyone in the audience on their feet and signing 'Well Done Mr. Tumble' in Makaton!"
Justin won an MBE in 2008 in recognition of his services to children's entertainment as a result of a massive public petition from his fans and their families for the difference he makes to the lives of children who need an alternative method of communication.
The Shine a Light Awards 2012 were hosted by TV and radio presenter Paul Ross and held at Pearson's London headquarters in Strand. They are a key part of the legacy of the Hello campaign – the national year of communication – and are designed to honour individuals, teams, projects and communities which have demonstrated excellence in supporting the needs of all children and young people's communication, particularly those with speech, language and communication needs (SLCN).