Sue Maynard Campbell MBE
GSD Chair 2004 - 2008
Sue Maynard Campbell MBE, Managing Director of Equal Ability CIC, Chair of the Group for Solicitors with Disabilities and one of the unsung heroines of the UK disabled people’s movement, died on 21st May 2008. She was a lifelong campaigner for the rights of disabled people and a member of the Not Dead Yet UK network fighting against the assumption that disabled people’s lives are not worth living.
Sue was born in Enfield in 1952, daughter of Rupert and Mary Maynard and grand-daughter of Charles Gordon Maynard, inventor of the wine gum, a fact of which she was very proud. She attended Godolphin and Latimer School in London but transferred to Florence Treloar School in Hampshire – a segregated school for disabled girls – in the middle of her ‘O’ level year. Despite this interruption to her schooling, she went on to study at the University of Nottingham, where students provided her with personal care support – a first for the University. She qualified as a lawyer in 1979, at a time when the profession was difficult even for nondisabled women to enter. She practised both in partnership and on her own in Surrey until 1986, when she moved to Yorkshire. In 1992 she set up Equal Ability, a disability equality training and consultancy company, with her sister Alice. She continued to run the company – one of the best known disability companies in the UK – until her death.
One of Sue’s major roles was with the Association of Disabled Professionals, first as Honorary Secretary under the chairmanship of Sir Peter Large and later as Chair herself. During her time with the Association she helped to set up the British Council of Organisations of Disabled People (now UKDPC), published booklets of case studies of successful disabled professionals designed to show disabled people that entry into the professions was possible, and initiated the disabled entrepreneurs’ network.
As Chair of the Group for Solicitors with Disabilities she encouraged many disabled solicitors to advance in their profession. Her last major contribution was to organise a hugely successful conference in February this year and was already planning the 2009 Conference.
She had a particular passion for supporting organisations led by disabled people, and much of her work in Equal Ability focussed on capacity building disabled people’s organisations. She worked closely with DIAL Wakefield her local disability organisation during the late 1980s and early 1990s. Recently she had been working with the Department of Health on the implementation of one of the recommendations in the Prime Minister’s Strategy Unit report “Improving the Life Chances of Disabled People” relating to local organisations of disabled people.
Sue leaves her partner Steve and her family and will be sorely missed by many.
The Guardian Obituary 16 June 2008
Tim Berner passed away on Friday 23rd November 2007.
Tim was an active member of the old GSD committee for a number of years, notably during the late 1990s whilst he was still working and only ceased coming to meetings when his motor neurons progressed after 2001. He bore his illness with dignity and courage and was always a joy to be in his company. I personally have interesting memories of being given lifts back to Wimbledon station from Chancery Lane with Tim whilst he was still able to drive. He will be sadly missed and is survived by his wife Elizabeth and three children Dominic, Juliet and Gabriel.
Vice Chair and Council Member