Tony Heaton (Visual Arts, 1989, Pendle) was awarded the OBE in the 2013 Birthday Honours List.

The award has been granted in recognition of over 40 years commitment to raising the profile of disability issues and disability arts.

Tony has spent his entire adult life campaigning, lobbying and advocating for disability rights through his many paid and unpaid roles. 

Since leaving Lancashire in 1997, Tony has had a successful career in disability arts, firstly as Director of Holton Lee in Dorset and currently as Chief Executive of Shape Arts in London. 

In addition to his career, Tony is a sculptor of some renown.  His work Squarinthecircle? is the largest piece of disability art permanently sited in the public realm anywhere in the world, located outside the School of Architecture at Portsmouth University.

In 2012, Tony was approached by The London Organising Committee for the Olympic Games (LOCOG) to remake his seminal sculpture Great Britain from a Wheelchair for use as lecterns for Lord Coe and Sir Philip Craven when they launched the Paralympics at the opening ceremony.  These were seen all around the world. 

Also in 2012, Tony was successful in winning the tender to create a sculptural intervention for the 50 foot high ‘Big 4’ outside Channel 4 television’s headquarters on Horseferry Road, Westminster.  The sculpture, entitled Monument to the Unintended Performer, was unveiled in May 2012 to great critical acclaim and was in situ until December 2012.