British Para Table Tennis Chairman Karen Tonge, who was recognised in the Queen’s Birthday Honours list for services to Paralympic table tennis, has been presented with her OBE by the Princess Royal at Windsor Castle. She was accompanied by her husband Ken and BPTT Performance Director Gorazd Vecko and his wife Sabina.
Tonge previously received an MBE in the New Year’s Honours 2009 for promoting table tennis at grassroots level, volunteering in sport and promoting healthy lifestyles. A member of the British Paralympic Association National Council since 2014 she became BPTT Chairman in March 2015. In 2020 Table Tennis England nominated Tonge to be a member of the European Table Tennis Union (ETTU) Para Committee and her appointment as Deputy Chair has been renewed through to 2024. Table Tennis England also nominated her to be a member of the International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF) Para Committee in 2021 and she was elected at the AGM in Houston, Texas.
She has been Chairman of Halton Table Tennis Club since 1999 and has officiated as an international umpire and referee at Para events in the UK and overseas including the 2022 Commonwealth Games in Birmingham where she was Referee for the table tennis and Para table tennis events.
“The Princess Royal apologised that it was her again,” said Tonge, “because she presented me with my MBE, but I said it was special because she is our IOC (International Olympic Committee) member and she does such a lot for sport. She knows everything about you and she’s really interested and we talked for quite a long time.
“To get an honour once is amazing but twice is remarkable. It’s an honour for the Paralympic family so it was only right that I took some members of the Paralympic family with me. Afterwards, we went for a champagne tea in Windsor, so it was a wonderful day.”