Category Archives: Inspirational People

Inspirational People – Maud Lewis, Folk Artist

Canadian folk artist Maud Lewis

Maud Lewis

The story of artist Maud Lewis is one that has touched the hearts of many, due to her facing of formidable challenges throughout the duration of her life, and creating art that embodies the simplicity and colour of a happy life in rural Nova Scotia in the 1900s. Through newspaper and magazine articles, as well as an upcoming film this year about her life and art, “Maudie”,  Maud has become a unlikely inspiration and sensation.

Maud suffered from juvenile rheumatoid arthritis (JRA), a type of arthritis that causes joint inflammation and stiffness in children, and it continued to plague her during her life, deteriorating as she aged. JRA is an autoimmune disorder, which means that the body mistakenly identifies some of its own cells and tissues as foreign. The immune system, which normally helps to fight off harmful, foreign substances such as bacteria or viruses, begins to attack healthy cells and tissues. The result is inflammation — marked by redness, heat, pain, and swelling. Progressive rheumatoid arthritis affects the lining of your joints causing a painful swelling that can eventually result bone erosion and joint deformity.

The renovated house of Maud Lewis folk artist

Maud Lewis’s House

maud-lewis-house-inside

Inside Maud Lewis’s home

She lived a life that wouldn’t be considered enviable by many. She was born in 1903 in the town of Yarmouth, Nova Scotia, and reportedly spent a solitary childhood, due to her physical differences to other children her age. Maud received her first art lessons from her mother, who taught her to hand-paint Christmas cards, which they then sold to neighbours, to bring in some money. She also learned to play the piano, but had to stop when her rheumatoid arthritis ravaged her fingers. Her physical disabilities brought her some early grief: classmates teased her cruelly, which may be one reason why she dropped out of school at 14, having completed only Grade 5. But it was reportedly a relatively happy childhood, until her parents died in the late 1930s, and her older brother, Charles, claimed the family inheritance and sold the family home where she had lived all her life.  About the same time, Maud fell pregnant and gave birth to a child. As Maud was an unmarried woman in her late 20s, the baby girl was put up for adoption and Maud never saw her again.

Not long after, Maud married Everett Lewis, a fish peddler, after responding to his advertisement for a housekeeper as a means to support herself. Upon moving in with him, she began to paint the entire house with colourful images such as butterflies, birds and flowers, which were nostalgic of Nova Scotia in the early 1900s, her happiest childhood days with her parents, and seemingly showing an inner contentment in her life with Lewis, despite reports that he scrounged away her supplies and income from her paintings. It eventuated that she wasn’t physically able to do the housekeeping, due to her arthritis, so she spent her days sitting by the window and painting. She brought in money with her artwork, with a sign on the road advertising “paintings for sale”, and Lewis kept the house. They seemingly lived a quiet, peaceful life.

Maud Lewis art

Maud Lewis Folk Art

Painting Maud Lewis disabled artist

Known as a folk artist, Maud was mostly self-taught, and lived most of her life in poverty without the money to buy painting supplies. She painted on the walls, on scraps of wood, card, plywood, the windowsills, anything she could get her hands on. She painted scenes and objects from her every day life – wildlife, flowers, trees, fishermen, simple colourful scenes that were filled with joy.

Maud passed away in 1970, having developed emphysema on top of rheumatoid arthritis in advancing years. Like many great artists before her, her work has received much higher acclaim after death, with some of her paintings now selling for over $125,000.

Maud Lewis painting arthritisMaud Lewis Folk art arthritis disability

Perhaps her art is experiencing a revival and has found a new audience in the present day because of our desire for simpler lives, for a return to nature, for creativity as an outlet for overstimulated brains in a world of technology. People are drawn to the naiveté and nostalgia of Maud’s work, and she serves as a timely reminder that a return to colourful childhood simplicity can be the greatest source of comfort in these modern times.

A film has been made about Maud Lewis and the trailer is available to watch below.

 

Hugh Herr – Double Amputee & Bionics Inventor

Hugh Herr Amputee - Bionic Prosthetic Inventor

Hugg Herr; Bionic Prosthetic Inventor

Have you ever wondered whether something that is perceived as your shortcoming, something that stops you from living life in a “normal” way, could actually be seen as an opportunity to push past conventional boundaries?

Hugh Herr is doing just that. He has created bionic limbs that are more flexible, more versatile, and much stronger than normal biological limbs, and is challenging our understanding of disability as something that hinders us from doing the things we love. Through his creations he is managing to bridge the gap between disability and ability, and at the same time exploring human limitation and potential.

Herr had both legs amputated below the knee after tissue damage from frostbite in a mountain climbing accident.  He was very well known in climbing circles, and at 17 years old, he had scaled cliff faces that no adult had ever attempted before. As a teenage climbing phenomenon, he met fellow climber Jeff Batzer and together decided to scale Mount Washington in New Hampshire. As they set out, avalanche conditions set in, but they kept going in the snow, believing it mild enough to manage, enjoying themselves. The conditions got worse, visibility was poor, and they got higher and higher on the mountain and further north, meaning further away from civilisation. They realised they needed to turn around, but Herr fell through ice during a river crossing and lost body heat and precious energy. After three days on the mountain they were eventually rescued, but Herr’s legs were severely frostbitten and gangrene was threatening to creep into the rest of his body. Seven surgeries later and doctors were still unable to get blood flowing back into his feet. His legs were amputated just below the knees, and he was fitted with legs made from plaster of paris. He cried every day for two years, his main focus not so much walking again, but whether he could climb. All he wanted was to feel normal again.

Image: Heinz Award

Image: Heinz Award

A few months after his surgery, he was fitted with a pair of acrylic legs, and took himself back into the mountains. As he climbed he realised that the real parts of his body got colder and achier, while his artificial limbs had no muscle fatigue whatsoever. He could also move a lot more quickly, because the amputations had left him 14 pounds lighter. This was when he had the realisation that fake limbs could possibly outperform real ones. A life changing realisation and one that set him on the path to creating dynamic bionic limbs that moved and felt better than real ones.

He realised there was a gap in artificial limb technology for bionic limbs – data driven creations rather than artisan crafted. So he filled that gap.

hugh herr double amputee

image: Shaun G Henry for Forbes

How do his legs work? There are three interfaces – mechanical, dynamic, and electrical.

Mechanically, he discovered a way to attach the limbs to the body in a comfortable and durable way – a relief for anyone who wears an artificial limb and endures the pain where the artificial and biological limbs meet. Where the body is stiff, he made the synthetic skin soft, and vice versa. This was done through a combination of MRI scans, robotic data and experimenting with different synthetic materials.

Dynamically, it was necessary to understand what each muscle does, how they connect with each other, and how those muscles are controlled by the spine.

Electrically, he realised that to make the limbs feel real, they needed to be a real part of the body, connecting with other processes, most importantly, the nervous system. He modelled the artificial limb on the biological limb, and researched the spinal reflexes and connections between the limb and the brain. He even went a step further, realising that through motor channels we can sense how a person wants to move. He now wears synthetic limbs that move and FEEL like flesh and bone.

Over half the world’s population suffers from some kind of cognitive, emotional sensory and motor condition, and due to poor technology these conditions so often end up as some form of disability.

Herr believes every person should have the right to live life without disability. To be able to see a loved one even with impaired sight, to be able to live without severe depression, to walk or dance in the case of limb paralysis or amputation.

Herr is shifting our viewpoint on disability and amputation, from the belief that a person is broken, to the idea that our environment is disabled and inadequate. A broken body is not a broken person.

He is passionate about bringing this innovative technology to the people that need it.

For more information on Hugh Herr and his work, see his Ted Talk, “The New Bionics That Let Us Run, Climb and Dance”:

 

 

Iris Apfel, Style Icon

4e37cfaa-3606-11e5-_949112b

image credit: thetimes.co.uk

Iris Apfel first came onto our radar a few years ago when she was featured on Advanced Style Blog. At the grand age of 94, most people are slowing down in life but Iris is an incredible woman who has become a ‘geriatric starlet’, known for her iconic style and creative brilliance.

A former interior designer, Iris and her husband Carl Apfel; a textile merchant who died earlier this year, landed a contract consulting on the interiors for the White House and were well known within the New York design circles.

815b7406-029d-43fb-b486-d514e2f7ce6d-2060x1236

Iris & her husband Carl. Image: Rex

Her career as an interior designer and textile creator took her around the world. Through her travels to the far corners of the world, she collected her eclectic mix of vintage and designer clothes and costume jewellery which was exhibited at the New York Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume Institute.  This exhibition was a turning point in her career. Apfel styled the show herself and through word of mouth became a new fashion sensation, more or less overnight.

photo_02 (1)

Photo courtesy of Magnolia Pictures

Iris is celebrated in countless style magazines covers and insists that her appeal is due to the glamour that is missing in life these days and the fact that people like her because she is different. She is a master at mixing something cheap with something chic and manages to create her own style. She engages with all sorts of people, of all ages, from all walks of life and shares with them her excitement about living.

Loved for her no-nonsense attitude, she is well known for her ‘Irisisms’ where she shares her pearls of wisdom and her style inspiration:

“Fashion you can buy, but style you possess”

“When you don’t dress like everyone else, you don’t have to think like everyone else”

“I don’t see anything wrong with a wrinkle. It’s kind of a badge of courage”

“There’s no how-to road map to style. It’s about self expression and above all, attitude”

This year has seen the launch of Iris, a documentary film about Apfel’s life. Iris is living proof that keeping active is the key to ageing gracefully.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Guest Blog: By Gemma Flanagan for Models of Diversity #disabilityfight4fashionright Tour

 

Gemma Tour2

Gemma Flanagan

I am like most Liverpool lovelies, I love fashion and feeling glamorous is not just a description, it is a way of life. Things changed a bit for me in 2011, when I was diagnosed with Guillain Barre syndrome (GBS), which left me in hospital for the best part of a year fighting against it and then in intensive rehabilitation. As a result of my illness I can no longer walk or stand unaided & rely mainly on a wheelchair. Throughout my life, fashion has always been a massive part of who I am and something I enjoy spending time on, so why should it not still be now. Like millions of others living with disabilities, I buy the magazines, brands and products but we are in no way represented by them…why not?!? In this day and age it is crazy that we are still discriminated against in this way.

It is so hard to believe that in 2015, we are still having to fight against discrimination and inequality. But this is exactly what we at Models of Diversity (http://www.modelsofdiversity.org) are doing. The amazing Angel Sinclair (CEO of Models of Diversity), started up MOD in 2008, and since has been tirelessly campaigning for more diversity within fashion. I discovered this not for profit organisation a few years ago, and it has really been a saviour to me. Meeting Angel and all the team, I discovered that despite my outward appearance and abilities changing, I was still me and was able to pursue modelling now as a model with disabilities.

Chelsey Jay, from Essex, the Director for disabled models has used a wheelchair for a number of years as a result of a condition she developed called POTS (Postural Tachycardia syndrome), through which she faints if she attempts to stand up. Chelsey has worked so hard in trying to bring about change for the better, through pushing boundaries with brands and labels, arranging meetings with head offices and getting our name out there through media. Despite her determination unfortunately we are still battling.

Gemma Tour4

Gemma and Chelsea Jay

To try and stop the inequality for good, Chelsey and Angel came up with the idea for a campaign which will hopefully change the inequality in fashion for good. The campaign will involve us touring around the UK to major cities, gaining the support of the public. Chelsey has got the backing of Kate Green MP who has helped put together a petition, meaning once we obtain enough signatures and present it to parliament, attention will have to be given to this matter. This would mean that disabled models would be used as regularly as any other model. Once we have the signatures required we can present it to parliament showing we have the support of the public and we would then need to be listened to seriously.

Gemma Tour1

Together with Chelsey and myself, our #disabilityfight4fashionright tour is made up of two other gorgeous models. Elesha Turner, from Hastings who relies on a crutch after having major surgery to battle cancer in her thigh bone has had a major successes worldwide since becoming a model with disabilities. And also Katie Knowles, from Newcastle who uses a crutch after spinal surgery a number of years ago for treatment of disc degenerative disease and spinal stenosis, who is passionate about being a part of this change and making people take notice of us as models with disabilities.

As we are a not for profit organisation, nothing that any of our team do is funded in any way, so in order for this tour and campaign to go ahead we are in need of support. As we all live in different parts of the UK, there will be substantial travel that needs to be funded so we can get this tour up and running. We are looking for organisations, businesses or individuals who can provide financial support to the tour to simply fund travel costs or indeed help us with travel in any way. We will have both local and national press coverage in each location which will be amazing publicity for any company wanting to help us. We will ensure your organisation/business receives credit in any press that we do, and can discuss brand promotion etc too if applicable. The cities we will be touring are; Liverpool, London, Manchester, Newcastle, Essex, Birmingham and Brighton (though we would love to add more cities depending on funding). In return for any support, we would also (where appropriate) provide ourselves as models for photo-shoot to promote your organisation, brand or products completely fee free.

Gemma Tour3

We have set up a ‘go fund me’ page (http://www.gofundme.com/vrusu7q), which any kind hearted individuals can make donations to. Literally we are truly grateful of any donation no matter how small or large. Please feel free to get in touch if you can help and please share to others, who you think may be interested in helping in any way:

 

Gemma@modelsofdiversity.org

Social media handles:

Twitter – @modsofdiversity

Instagram – @modelsofdiversity

#disabilityfight4fashionright

xXx

Inspirational People – Martha Lane Fox

Baroness-Martha-Lane-Fox-008

Photograph: Gary Calton for the Observer Gary Calton/Observer

Martha Lane Fox has spent her career as a champion for digital technology. She was the co-founder of Lastminute.com, the travel website that was of the first dotcom boom, which floated at an over inflated share price. The boom then turned to bust, causing the share prices to crash. She then spent three years building it back up with her co-founder, Brent Hoberman, before selling it, making herself a cool £13m in the process!

Martha credits her insanely privileged education, an unbelievably loving home life and massive amounts of luck to her success. But she has also experienced more than her fair share of bad luck. In 2004, shortly after leaving Lastminute.com, she suffered a horrific car accident in Morocco in 2004. She was not expected to survive. She broke 28 bones, smashed her pelvis, suffered a stroke, spent over a year in hospital, and is still dealing with the ongoing health issues it’s caused. She is left needing to use a walking stick, with constant pain and has had 28 operations in total.

With a passion for social causes, she has thrown her energies into the deep and troubling inequality in this country, believing that technological inequality exacerbates social, educational and financial inequalities and is a leader of digital culture and access in the UK.

For three years Martha was the government’s digital champion, working for Gordon Brown then David Cameron and was appointed a crossbench peer in the House of Lords in March 2013. At 42, she is the youngest female member of the House of Lords; she celebrated her nomination by tweeting whether she’d get free cocktails and a set of nipple tassels (the Soho Society supplied the latter)! She is currently chair of Go On UK, a coalition of public and private sector partners that are helping millions more people and organisations online.

She has supported Reprieve for years as well as a children’s legal support charity, Just for Kids Law, and her own grant-making trust, Antigone.

In March 2014, she was appointed Chancellor of the Open University. Martha co-founded and chairs Luckyvoice, revolutionising the karaoke industry. She chairs MakieLab, she is also on the board of Marks & Spencers and the Women’s Prize for Fiction, whilst being a member of the 30 Percent Club that aims to get more women on boards and supports women in business and technology. In 2013 Martha was awarded a CBE.

You can follow MLF blog here

 

 

 

Guest Blog – Gemma Flanagan, Model & Disability Rights Campaigner

Guillian Barre Recovery

Gemma undergoing rehabilitation

Ever since I was diagnosed with Guillain Barre Syndrome in 2011, I have wanted to try and use the horrendous experience that I and my family and friends went through in a positive way. When I was first in recovery and trying to rebuild my life, I was quite negative and down on everything and didn’t really feel like I was going to be able to help myself, never mind anyone else. But through looking on the internet for further information on Guillain Barre Syndrome (GBS) I came across the work of a fabulous charity which is now known as gain http://www.gaincharity.org.uk

image

Gemma in Intensive Care

gain charity provide information, support and advice to individuals and their families who are affected by GBS and other associated autoimmune disorders and also help to provide awareness and further research into causes, treatments and preventions.

Through finding gain, I had not only found a way of helping myself; through having access to information etc, but also gave me a way to try and turn my experience back to a positive. I got in touch with them asking if there were any ways I could help or be of use to them. I was told about the helpline that is open 24/7 and is manned totally by volunteers, a lot of whom where GBS survivors like myself, or where relatives of people who had gone through something similar.

I loved this, as it wasn’t a case of doctors or medical professionals talking to you in a clinical way, this was people who could show true empathy with others about their situations. I had my first day on the helpline a few weeks later, and although I initially found it quite emotional, and difficult, it gave me a real sense of how much I had actually achieved and how much I had actually been through. Speaking to people over the phone who where at similar stages that I was at 6 months or so earlier was so surreal but I loved that I was able to offer some support and in some cases even advice on things that I had found useful or not when I was in hospital.

image(1)

Gemma supporting ‘gain’

Another form of help offered by gain is organising hospital visits if requested. I in particularly love this part, as I know how isolating, overwhelming and traumatic it is being stuck inside your body, often in agony and unable to move or communicate effectively. In my case I felt like it was never going to end and thought I would always be at that low point.  But through myself and others going into to see sufferers, showing them that there is life after GBS. Symptoms usually plateau and then things usually do improve, even if in some cases, like mine, it means that things are slightly different to how they where before. I had so many lovely messages and thanks from people who I have personally been in contact with through this, I am so proud and happy that I can be even the tiniest bit of help to them

As GBS and other associated disorders can affect individuals so differently, there is such a wide range of severity that they can take. In my case my worst was being completely paralysed and in intensive care for weeks, unable to even swallow or even close my eye lids, but as crazy as it sounds I now know how lucky I actually was. Things can always be so much worse, as the disorders are things that an be fatal in some cases. And even though I have been left with disabilities and complications as a result of everything, I am thankful and grateful that I am still here and now I am able to help others. I have so much amazing support from the best family and friends, who also have done their bit by raising money for gain, by doing crazy activities, running marathons and holding events. Charities such as gain do such an amazing job, but could always do more, if there were more funds available to them.

Guest Blog by Gemma Flanagan, model and disability campaigner

Gemma Flanagan

Image by Paul Cummings Photography

In 2011, I was loving life in my dream job, travelling the world as Cabin Crew, when I became ill with Guillain Barre Syndrome (GBS) & Miller Fisher Syndrome. I was left at my worst, completely paralysed, in intensive care and then remained in hospital and an intensive rehabilitation unit for a total of 9 months. I had to learn to do all basic tasks again and try to rebuild my body. I am now left with muscle / nerve damage and weakness in my core, hips, legs and back as a result of my GBS. It has left me reliant on a wheelchair and crutches to get around and has given me a whole new outlook on myself and life. I could no longer carry on my dream job or carry on with things how I used to, I had to come to terms with a totally new me and body.

After leaving hospital, I discovered an organisation called Models of Diversity, who are a not for profit organisation that campaign to get a greater representation of diversity within fashion and media. I had done modelling in the past, and always enjoyed it, I never imagined that I would be now pursuing a career as a disabled model. I had to come to terms with a totally new body image of myself, which has been hard, and Models of Diversity helped me to realise that I was still me, just in a slightly different body, with some new accessories!! Still a glamorous girl, who loves everything fashionable and fabulous.

Gemma Flanagan4

Image – Models of Diversity

I now campaign alongside Models of Diversity, to try to make change come about within fashion and media, as currently there is no permanent representation of people with disabilities, like myself, in fashion or media. There is such a strong population in the UK living with disabilities, that it is crazy that we are not represented. We still want to wear the clothes and use the products so why are we not included on a regular basis within adverts, marketing and media?!

I am so passionate about individuals and models with disabilities being represented within society. Change will happen, once people realise that as disabled models we are more than capable of holding our own within the fashion world and that we can produce just as high quality, captivating and sale-able images than any other models!!!

How Should We Care For Our Ageing And Disabled Population?

The Alf Morris Lecture Logo Colour 7

Many of us know what it is to be older, or to have a disability, because it has happened to us or to someone close to us. The Disabled Living Foundation (DLF) is a national charity providing impartial advice, information and training on independent living since 1969. The DLF website is a valuable resource for sourcing equipment and providing options to enable people to continue living independently at home.

The DLF has recently launched the Alf Morris Fund for Independent Living, which was set up to honour a man who made a difference to the most vulnerable members of society.

This Fund will help people find out about the resources available to keep them independent, and to help them make choices. Its purpose echoes Alf’s vision, in his own words, “adding life to years” rather than just years to life.

Known as the ‘quiet revolutionary’, Alf Morris, who died in 2012, became MP for Wythenshawe, then the world’s first Minister for Disabled People and later Lord Morris of Manchester.  A man of purpose and intent, Alf was a true social reformer who made a genuine and enduring difference to the world around him. His achievements included the passing of The Chronically Sick & Disabled Persons Act (1970), the first to recognise and give rights to disabled people. Adapted as a template by other nations, it transformed the lives of millions of disabled people in the UK and worldwide. And his legacy lives on.

“DLF’s mission to help older and disabled people live independently at home has long been my priority of priorities.  I believe there to be no worthier cause, nor one which makes such a tangible difference to so many lives.” The late Alf Morris who  had links with the DLF from 1969 and was its longest serving Vice-President,  remaining active in that role until his death in August 2012.

In support of the fund, the Alf Morris Lecture; Daring To Care: The Enduring Legacy Of Alf Morris Through The Eyes Of Sir Harold Evans, takes place at the Shaw Theatre, Euston Road, London at 7pm on Tuesday 10 March 2015

Sir-Harold-Evans-008

Sir Harold Evans

 

The inaugural Alf Morris Lecture will be delivered by renowned journalist, historian, writer and social commentator, Sir Harold Evans. Taking as its theme the issue of securing an independent and dignified future for our ageing population, the lecture covers one of the key debates in May’s General Election.

Sir Harold is no stranger to controversy. His distinguished career includes a 14 year stint as editor of the Sunday Times where he uncovered the thalidomide disaster and exposed Kim Philby as a Soviet spy.  He championed a style of investigative journalism that brought stories, scandals and social issues to public attention and his powerful influence changed the way civil cases were reported in Britain.  Now based in New York, Sir Harold is making a rare trip to the UK.

A personal story as well as a lecture, Sir Harold will share experiences and memories of his friendship with Alf Morris which began at Brookdale Park School in Manchester (where he was labelled ‘Poshie’ by Alf as he was the only boy in the school whose father owned a car) and was strengthened by their mutual quest to campaign for the victims of thalidomide.

Tickets for the Shaw Theatre, Euston Road London, on the evening of Tuesday 10 March 2015 start at £25 with concessions available. Guests can choose to attend a drinks reception before the lecture at 6.00pm and there will also be a celebratory dinner afterwards at 8.15pm in the Pullman St Pancras hotel (tables still available) with all monies raised donated to the Alf Morris Fund for Independent Living.

To buy a ticket, please call 020 7432 8006, email alfmorrislecture@dlf.org.uk  or visit www.alf-morris-lecture.org.uk

 

Profile of Caron Cares – Eldercare Blogger

corporate photo of me

“Caron Sprake is a self-employed home-help for the elderly and passionate eldercare blogger. Before starting her blog she was unable to even “copy and paste” so in her words “it has been an amazing adventure”.

Caron Cares offers advice and information for anyone caring for the elderly. Caron is also a Purple Angel ambassador raising awareness about dementia in her town and on line.

Caron Cares is privileged to have some respected guest writers and also has Royal approval and was been invited to work along side the Carers Trust by HRH Princess Ann.

Through her honest, heartfelt blogging Caron has been invited to be part of an advisory panel with some of the leading names of the care profession such as Prof. Martin Green OBE of Care UK and Norman Niven of Bio Dose.

Caron was also delighted to meet the challenge of providing 3 brand new wheelchairs to elderly women in a remote village in Kenya. This was no mean feat as Caron lives in Devon. “Wheelchairs by wings” is her lovely story of kindness for and from strangers across the world.

Caron has over 20 years experience of working with the elderly and disabled in their own homes and was also once the primary carer for her Mother-in-Law whilst juggling work and two young sons. She therefore understands the demands faced by sandwich generation carers.

Caron also cared for PC Philip Olds QGM (dec’d) who was shot and paralysed during a robbery. This was an interesting and challenging role for her as she was only 17 at the time ”

To read more information on Caron’s inspirational work, visit her blog:  http://www.caroncares.co.uk/

Lady Tebbit – 25 years on from the Brighton Bombing

In 2009 Telegraph health correspondent Laura Donnelly spoke to Lady Margaret Tebbit about her life since the Brighton Bombing in 1984, by the IRA – targeting Margaret Thatcher and her ministers. Lady Tebbit was severely paralysed in the explosion, but as the interview showed she has managed to focus on getting on with her life – an inspiration to anyone going through this kind of life changing trauma.

Lady Margaret Tebbit, paralysed by the Brighton Bombing 25 years ago, reveals in a rare interview why she considers herself lucky.

“The images, from 1984, are unforgettable: a brutal slice through Brighton’s Grand Hotel; then trade secretary Norman Tebbit, ghostly pale as he was stretchered from its rubble; the Prime Minister, defiant, as she addressed delegates, hours after the IRA bomb.

The story of Lady Tebbit, paralysed by the attack, and confined to a wheelchair, cannot, however, be summed up in such flashbacks.

“It is not all about one dramatic moment – about being loaded onto a stretcher, bundled in blankets,” she tells The Sunday Telegraph, in a rare interview.

read the full interview on how she has coped with her injuries here