“I grew up surrounded by passionate campaigning about disability rights, which formed part of my DNA. The Disablement Income Group, the first disability rights organisation in the UK, had just been formed and my mother was an advocate for them.
Leaving school I had no idea what I wanted to do so I spent a gap year working in a hospice in South London. There I was taught two huge lessons by Kathy, who couldn’t move at all, speak or feed herself. Firstly she taught me that everyone has something to contribute: she had the biggest sense of fun and playfulness, if only you took time to see it. Secondly she taught me that it takes two to create a disability: she had an impairment, but I disabled her by being frightened of that impairment so I didn’t take the time to see her for who she was. She gently and patiently showed me what I was doing to her. Through the 40 years since then I’ve worked in a variety of sectors and roles, gaining along the way a PhD, a professorship and an OBE, all of which I’ve used to follow my personal goal: to contribute to making a world where, no matter what, everyone is valued, respected and included.
I feel very honoured to have been made a Deputy Lieutenant of the county of Gloucestershire, through which I look forward to serving the communities of the county.
The strengths I bring to the team at Barnwood are stamina, persistence and an appetite for the challenging.”