Graeme Souness ‘delighted and humbled’ to be made CBE in King’s birthday honours

Former Scotland and Liverpool star Graeme Souness says he is “delighted and humbled” to have been made a CBE in the King’s birthday honours.

Souness is a well-known figure in football, having represented his country at three World Cups and won five league titles and three European Cups with the Reds, but the honour also recognises his service and support to charity.

Souness is a vice-president of DEBRA UK, which refers to itself as ‘The Butterfly Skin Charity’.

DEBRA raises awareness of epidermolysis bullosa (EB), a group of incredibly painful genetic skin blistering conditions that cause the skin to blister and tear at the slightest touch causing excruciating pain, and unbearable itch.

He was first introduced to the charity in 2019 and became determined to make a difference to improve the lives of people living with EB, including Isla Grist who has since become Souness’ friend.

Last year the 71-year-old Souness joined a swimming challenge across the English Channel, helping to raise £1.5million which has helped DEBRA test existing licensed drugs which could be life-changing and significantly improve quality of life for people living with EB.

“I am delighted and humbled to receive this honour,” Souness said.

“It has been a life-changing few years working so closely with DEBRA UK as vice-president and none more so than this last year when I was part of a great team, swimming the English Channel to raise vital funds and awareness for DEBRA UK and EB.

“It is wonderful that the King has honoured me with a CBE and it is important to acknowledge the whole team which works tirelessly to find solutions to the intolerable pain, itch and inflammation of this horrendous condition. This for my friend Isla and everyone else living with EB.”

DEBRA chief executive Tony Byrne said: “We are incredibly proud and grateful to have Graeme as a member of our team.

“With his support we have brought EB to the public’s attention, and we have started our drug repurposing journey. There is still much that we need to do but with people like Graeme being the difference for EB, we can create a world where no one must suffer with EB. Thank you, Graeme, for everything that you have done for the EB community, and many congratulations.”