Olympic heroine Eleanor Simmonds has become the youngest person ever to get an award in the New Year’s Honours list – at the tender age of just 14.

The teenager, from Aldridge, Walsall, added to Britain’s Beijing gold rush with two outstanding swims in the pool at the Paralympics, and is recognised with an MBE.

The 14-year-old became one of Britain’s youngest paralympic gold medallists after winning the women’s S6 100 and 400 metres freestyle in September. The Alridge swimmer, who was born with achondroplasia, or dwarfism, topped off her most successful year yet by winning the Young Sports Personality of the Year award at the annual BBC Midlands Sports Awards earlier this month.

Eleanor was forced to train six days a week at an Olympic-size pool in Swansea because of a lack of facilities in her native Midlands, prompting new plans for a 50 metre, £60million facility in Birmingham.