An amputee whose company provides extras to the film and television industry has won an annual award for disabled entrepreneurs – and a cheque for £50,000.
John Pickup began Amputees in Action in 2004, and has supplied amputee extras – often for action scenes – to Hollywood movies such as Atonement and 28 Weeks Later, as well as to television productions and “casualty simulations”.
Pickup has now won the 2009 Stelios Award for Disabled Entrepreneurs, an award programme run by Leonard Cheshire Disability (LCD) in partnership with easyJet founder Sir Stelios Haji-Ioannou.
Pickup said the prize would help his company invest in a project to develop a recognised qualification system that would allow amputees to perform film stunts as well as working as extras.
He said: “I believe that a positive approach is the way to overcome the fear, prejudice and misconception that often stand in the way of disabled people.”
Sir Stelios, who funds the award and will arrange business mentoring for Pickup and two runners-up, said it was vital to remove the barriers disabled people face in business.
But he added: “Self-employment is a more viable option for many disabled people as it offers flexibility and helps bypass much of the prejudice that unfortunately still exists amongst employers.”
Sophie Down, LCD’s corporate partnerships officer, said: “Our partnership with Sir Stelios is helping the charity highlight the barriers disabled people face in the workplace and recognise the outstanding achievement of disabled entrepreneurs.”
2 December 2009