Friday 27th April 2012
A deaf charity has paid tribute to disabled rights campaigner and the first deaf MP Lord Ashley who died last week.
The Labour peer, who was first elected to the House of Commons as MP for Stoke on Trent in 1966, died at the age of 89 last week following a short battle with pneumonia.
A spokesperson for the British Deaf Association (BDA) said: "Jack Ashley lost his hearing after an unsuccessful ear operation and feared he may have to resign as an MP and leave politics. However, he overcame this adversity and learned to lip-read.
"His deafness never affected his fighting attitude or his ardent campaigning. He was widely known and respected for his unswerving work and commitment in the campaign for better compensation for children disabled by the drug Thalidomide, which was given to mothers to treat morning sickness during the 1950s and 1960s.
"He was a courteous and generous person, always giving his time and energy to improve the lives of deaf people, not only here in the UK but worldwide.
"He was a Plenary Speaker at the World Federation of the Deaf Congress in Finland 1987 and made an indefinable impression on all who were there, becoming the role model for many deaf people to enter politics, thus epitomising the saying 'deaf people can do anything but hear'. This being a fitting legacy.
"The BDA sends its condolences to Lord Ashley's family. A light has dimmed, but his work remains a shining star."