Inspirational Role Models

Heather Mills

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Business entrepreneur, philanthropist, charity campaigning activist, are just a few titles attributed to one of the most famous amputee’s in the world.

Heather Mills was incredibly close to death when a Police motorcycle collided with her in 1993, resulting in a punctured lung, crushed pelvis, broken ribs, a fractured skull and the amputation of her left leg just below the knee.
Decades on, Heather proves that even with an inhibiting disability you can still make a difference in the world.
Here is a brief, but fascinating resume into Heather’s extraordinary life.

Heather was living in Yugoslavia when the war broke out in 1991. Heather, seeing the devastation her friends were enduring, set up refugee crisis centres to assist survivors and supported the eradication of landmines.

It was ironic that after working on the front line, Heather did not sustain an injury. It was only when she returned to the UK to advise the Shadow Defence Secretary on the issues in Yugoslavia that she took that fateful step onto De Vere Gardens in London and was struck by a police motorcycle attending a false alarm call to Kensington Palace.

This life changing event saw Heather, turn what could be a looked upon as a soul destroying situation, into a positive step forward to overcoming adversity.
In 1994, Heather established a Trust and launched an appeal to raise funds desperately needed for recycling prosthetic components along with the mental and physical rehabilitation of landmine amputees. After inspiringly deciding to collect discarded limbs from clinics around the UK, Heather set up workshops in prisons to dismantle the recycle prosthetic limbs.

These were then driven by Heather and her team to Croatia to aid survivors of war and landmine explosions. Over 400,000 have been helped to date.

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Baroness Campbell of Surbiton DBE

Baroness Campbell of Surbiton DBEJane Susan Campbell, Baroness Campbell of Surbiton, was Commissioner of the Equality and Human Rights Commission from 2006–08. She also served as Chair of the Disability Committee which lead on the EHRC Disability Programme.

I agree that disabled people face many challenges at the moment in all areas you refer to. I thought you might like to see the Report published earlier this month by a Post Legislative Select Committee I sat on, examining the impact of the Equality Act 2010 on disabled people’s lives.
The committee worked on this for nine months and I hope you will find it helpful:

Thank you for all you are doing to help break down the barriers so that disabled people can participate fully in their communities.

Madeline Stuart

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Madeline Stuart has recently been described in The Daily Mail as “a perfect role model for all young women”.

Her appearance at high profile fashion shows is, as she says, only a beginning.

She feels that this is not just about modelling – this is more about changing the world, this is about creating inclusion, stopping discrimination and breaking down those walls of confinement.

As The Mail said,” the most wonderful thing about Madeline is that she looks so happy and healthy – no suggestion of heroin chic from her”.

Chelsey Jay

Chelsey Jay is a disabled model. She has Postural Tachycardia Syndrome (PoTS).

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On her modelling career she says “Whenever I do a shoot I ask the photographer to tell me exactly what they want – and I’ll do everything I can to do it.”

“I might not be able to stand up, but I can model just as well as anyone else. I thought I was going to have to give up on my dreams, but now I’m living them!”

Chelsey was struck down with PoTS during a busy shift on the stroke ward Broomfield Hospital in Chelmsford.

But,”she says “although It was really hard at first I was determined to succeed even though my life was different. I had a wheelchair and a mobility scooter and everything changed.”

Chelsey regularly appears on ShY’s sunrise and has modelled for fashion store Boohoo. She is also an ambassador for “Models of Diversity”

Suzanne Bull MBE

Suzanne Bull MBE was appointed Chief Executive Officer of Attitude is Everything on 1st April 2008 after spending 7 and a half years being its Project Manager.

Suzanne Bull MBE
Suzanne Bull MBE

She is disabled and has both a personal and professional interest in improving access to live music.
Attitude is Everything improves Deaf and disabled people’s access to live music by working in partnership with audience, artists and the music industry to implement a Charter of Best Practice across the UK.
She has previously held a number of employed and voluntary positions which included Artsline, Shape, Deptford Urban Free Festival and Disability Arts in London Magazine.

She was honoured with an MBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours list in June 2013 for services to music, arts and disabled people.

She was also awarded Access All Areas Editor’s Award at the Event Production Awards 2015

Dr James Partridge OBE

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Dr James Partridge OBE founded Changing Faces in 1992, after his book of the same name – telling of his own experience of coming to terms with disfigurement following burns in a car fire – was received to critical acclaim.

Over the last 24 years, the charity has helped thousands of people and grown into an organisation with some 30+ staff and offices around Britain. Their work as caring campaigners supports people through psycho-social support and the national Skin Camouflage Service, and campaigning and advocating for face equality, where everyone is treated equally irrespective of appearance.

He has won many awards, including the Beacon Prize for Leadership, Most Respected Charity Chief Executive, Human Rights Lifetime Achievement Award, and a Lifetime Achievement Award in the National Diversity Awards. He was awarded an OBE in 2002 and made an Honorary Fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh and an Honorary Doctor of Science by the University of Bristol. He appears frequently in the media, and once read the Channel 5 News for a week!

Find out more at the links below:

Changing Faces

James’ Facebook page

James’ Twitter

Biography on the Changing Faces website

Melanie Reid

Melanie Reid
Melanie Reid

Melanie Reid is a writer and columnist at The Times. In 2010 she fell off her horse and broke her neck. She started writing Spinal Column in The Times Magazine during her year-long stay in hospital and now, a tetraplegic, records the unvarnished realities of life for the chronically ill. She was UK Columnist of the Year in 2011 and in 2014 won the Edgar Wallace Award for Journalism and an Editorial Intelligence Comment Award. She is a graduate of Edinburgh University and has an honorary degree from Stirling University.

Maria Oshodi

Maria Oshodi
Maria Oshodi

The Extant Theatre Company was formed in 1997 and is based at Ovalhouse Theatre, London. Extant is Britain’s professional performing arts company of visually impaired people. Maria Oshodi is the company’s Artistic Director and CEO.

Extant are best known for producing and touring productions by visually impaired artists around the UK and internationally.

Maria Oshodi’s first play The S Bend was produced as part of the Royal Court Theatre’s Young Writers Festival in 1984, directed by David Sulkin, and later by Claire Grove at the Cockpit Theatre in 1985. More plays by Maria include
Blood, Sweat and Fears directed by Yvonne Brewster, From Choices to Chocolate directed by Kate Harwood, and Here Comes a

Maria Oshodi
Maria Oshodi

Candle directed by Paulette Randle, all touring nationally. Her plays have been published variously by Longmans, Metheuen and John Murray.

In 1992 she graduated from Middlesex University with a 1st BA honors in Drama and English. Since then she has worked in arts development, performed, and worked for BBC Drama production as a diversity project coordinator. Whilst studying for her degree, she wrote the screenplay Mug, which was produced by Warner Sisters as a short for Channel 4 in 1990, and Hound, produced by Graeae Theatre Company in 1992 and later published in 2002 in their anthology, Graeae Plays 1.

Maria founded Extant in 1997 and since 2008 she has been full-time artistic Director and CEO of the company. Maria is also a freelance writer, working in collaboration with Braun Arts on their multimedia project entitled “The Dark”, which opened at the Science Museum’s Dana Gallery in 2004, and toured Britain extensively in 2004-2005, and again in 2007 as “Dark Heritage” in commemoration of the bicentenary of the abolition of slavery. In 2007 she wrote a site-specific play called A Putney Light Shines, produced at St Mary’s Church Putney and funded by Heritage Lottery, to commemorate Cromwell’s Putney Debates of 1647. In 2009 she created an audio dramatic walk through Putney based on the 1909 novel ‘Buried Alive’ by Arnold Bennett, which can be downloaded from the Wandsworth local authority website.

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