If we cannot add years to people’s lives, then surely life can be added to their years.
This now famous quote has stayed with me from the very first day I heard it. I was in the midst of some turmoil at work regarding a lecture based on ‘Values in Care’ I had been asked to do some years ago now. So I was trailing through different reference books and came across this quote by Lord Morris, and I was inspired and humbled in equal measure, and I ended up doing the lecture based on the values Lord Morris had been fighting for since his early childhood.
I recall he wrote about the appalling inhuman treatment his father received after he had lost a leg in World War One, and this set him on a path of destiny to become the founder and figure head for what we now call the Disability Movement. Lord Morris saw first-hand that his Father, who gave so much for his Country, was not able to access public buildings, services, etc.; he saw first-hand how his Father was relegated to less than a second class citizen. This was his drive and his motivation, which was soon added by other people’s stories of exclusion and mistreatment just because of a disability.
Lord Morris was finally able to enshrine his drive to change things positively with the introduction of a landmark bill in 1970, which forced public buildings to make changes and make them accessible to people with disabilities, this bill was the foundation for all disability/equality Acts of Parliament that followed over the decades. Lord Morris made people look at the inadequacies of what existed and gather the moment behind him to say, “this is not acceptable for people with disabilities, this WILL change”, and change they did, and they continue to.
Lord Morris was an inspiration, a revolutionary, a caring person that for me ranks in the same league as Mother Teresa, Mahatma Gandhi & Dalai Lama for the positive influence they have had over the lives of others, few make a contribution as long lasting as Lord Morris.
In the case of this majestic and wonderful man, I feel Heaven’s gain is absolutely our loss, and every schoolchild and adult should be taught via his example, that you can change society for the better. Lord Morris you are missed and this will forever be so, rest in peace, our lives are better because your efforts, 1928 – 2012.