According to the the IPC:
'Every year, the IPC honours people and organizations that have made outstanding and long-lasting contributions to the Paralympic Movement by awarding them the Paralympic Order. Any person or organization who has illustrated the Paralympic ideal through his/her actions, has achieved remarkable merit in the world of sport for persons with a disability, or has rendered outstanding services to the Paralympic cause, either through their personal achievement or their contribution to the development of sport for persons with a disability, may be admitted to the Paralympic Order.'
Ian became an IFDS Vice-Chairman at the foundation's inception in 1988, and ten years later took over the role of Chairman. Ian retired from the post of Chairman at the beginning of 2005, making way for current IFDS Chairman Serge JORGENSEN (USA). However Ian still maintains his near 20 year service in the IFDS, staying on in the Executive Committee as one of the five Vice-Presidents. Ian is also the Disabled Sailing representative on the ISAF Equipment Committee.
When Ian came back to the sport it started with model yachts, before he moved on to a Miracle, where before long he had regained the winning habit. He was then invited to sail on the Challenger Trimaran.
In 1988 Ian competed for Great Britain at the 2.4 Metre World Championship, the class which would become the Paraylmpic equipment for the single-person keelboat, and was to become a regular in the class until he retired in 1999 to become a technical delegate for the Sydney 2000 Paralympic Games.
Ian also regularly appeared in the three-person keelboat, the Sonar, appearing at the Worlds since 1990. He was part of the crew that qualified Great Britain for the Atlanta 1996 Paralympic Games, where sailing was first included as a demonstration sport. He then acted as a reserve for Andrew CASSELL, Tony DOWNS and Kevin CURTIS (GBR) who went on to win the regatta.
Speaking about his award of the Paralympic Order, Ian was very keen to stress the importance of those who have surrounded and supported him during his time in disabled sailing. In particular he highlighted the role of his wife Pauline, the manager of the British Disabled Sailing Team and Chairwoman of the IFDS Development Committee, who Ian says, 'has worked just as hard as I have.'
In typical fashion he was happy to deflect attention away from himself, towards the people he has worked with, 'ISAF have been incredibly supportive of disabled sailing. I was only the President [of IFDS] but it is all the other people involved who have made it possible.' Asked about his fondest memories from many years of experience he was quick to respond, 'the people, the comradeship, the fun, the laughter.'
Ultimately for Ian, the Order is a great honour, although as he says, sailing itself has given him everything he could ask of it, 'The things that have happened in my life through sailing - that is reward enough - it's been a great privilege and the rewards have been enormous.'
ISAF extends its congratulations to Ian HARRISON on receiving the IPC Paralympic Order.