A CHARITY worker has become the first person in France with a mental disability to be awarded the légion d'honneur.
70-year-old Jean-Pierre Crépieux received France's highest honour from President Hollande at a ceremony in Paris yesterday.
He is one of the co-founders of L'Arche, a charitable association that helps people of all ages with mental disabilities integrate into society.
Mr Crépieux, who spent most of his childhood in a mental hospital, said the award was proof "that people with disabilities can achieve things".
He told his local radio station: "I bought a suit especially for the occasion. I feel moved to have been chosen."
He created L'Arche at the age of 20 after a chance meeting with a former Canadian naval officer, Jean Vanier, who was involved with a Christian charity.
Together they set up their first drop-in centre and the organisation has since spread to 40 countries worldwide, with 140 active groups.
La légion d'honneur à une personne avec #handicap mental : une grande 1ère en France le 8 dec
http://t.co/VOXiVnrb4F pic.twitter.com/vjGg94Q6wD— L'Arche en France (@ArcheFrance) 3 Décembre 2014