Westminster Abbey honour for Co-op peer

A special thanksgiving service to mark the 40th anniversary of the coming into law of the ground-breaking Chronically Sick and Disabled Persons Act, 1970, is to be held...

The Bill was initiated and steered through Parliament by the former Labour/Co-op MP for Wythenshawe, Alf Morris — now Lord Morris of Manchester — and the life-long co-operator who went on to become the world’s first Minister for the Disabled will be pleased to see friends and colleagues from the Movement at the event. 

The Abbey authorities decided to hold the service to celebrate Lord Morris’s legislation, not only because of the Act’s effect on the lives of disabled people in the UK, but also in recognition of its status as the world’s first legislation on access for disabled people to the built environment. 

Ten million people received help under section 2 of the Act alone, with adaptations or help in their homes, transport to and from services outside the home and other aids to independent living.  It was also the world’s first legislation on dyslexia, autism and the unique needs of children born both blind and prelingually deaf. 

Lord Morris, who describes himself as being of the Co-op Movement, says that his Bill was and is "a legislative expression of the social philosophy of the Movement".

Among the congregation will be hundreds of people who have benefited from the Act, including famous disabled athlete and former Olympian Dame Tanni-Grey Thompson, and some will give first-hand testimony about its impact. 

• The service will commence at 11.0 am in the Abbey and will last for one hour. Any co-operator who would like to attend is asked to register their interest by emailing [email protected].

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