It is with great sadness that the University announces the death of Sir Bert Massie. Sir Bert will be remembered with great fondness by staff, students, alumni and Governors alike. A life lived in the service of others, his professional life was dedicated to fighting for the dignity and rights of individuals.
Vice-Chancellor, Professor Nigel Weatherill said:
“Sir Bert was a wonderful member of our extended family, and a great ambassador for the University. As a dedicated member of our Governing Body he took his role as a critical friend seriously, he spoke eloquently on behalf of our students and our staff and was a true role model to so many of us. He will be remembered fondly for his immense contribution to the University and for his genuine interest in so many individual projects - wherever Bert appeared, he was immediately surrounded by friends and of course, by laughter. He will be sadly missed and we send our deepest condolences to Lady Maureen and their family.”
Sir Bert’s longstanding links with the University began when he enrolled on a Social Studies degree in the 1970s at what was then Liverpool Polytechnic. He recently attended a Social Studies Reunion at the University, exactly 40 years after he graduated in 1977.
He joined LJMU’s Board of Governors as an Independent Member on 1 February 2008, serving as Chair of Audit Committee, and as a member of the Remuneration and Nominations Committees and Chairs Group. He was awarded an LJMU Honorary Fellowship in 2002 for services to equality and promoting the rights of disabled people.
His undiminished commitment to promoting equality for all was reflected in his recent attendance at LJMU’s Keeping Race Equality on the Agenda event in April 2017, marking the launch of University’s Race Charter. He also led the debate on the future of the 2010 Equality Act at LJMU in November 2015, speaking alongside leading equality experts from across the UK.
Throughout his adult life, Sir Bert was a leading campaigner for equality and a champion of human rights for disabled people. As Chief Executive of the Royal Association for Disability and Rehabilitation, he was instrumental in ensuring that Parliament passed the Disability Discrimination Act 1995 and during his tenure as the first Chairman of the Disability Rights Commission (2000-2007), he helped ensure that the rights of disabled people were strengthened and enshrined in law. He was also a founding Commissioner of the Equality and Human Rights Commission, established in 2007.
A leading thinker on social policies affecting disabled people, he served on numerous statutory committees, and advised ministers on appropriate policies; he was Deputy Chairman of the National Disability Council and a member of the Disability Rights Task Force; a member of the Independent Commission on Social Justice and a Trustee of a numerous organisations including Community Service Volunteers, the Institute of Employment Studies, the Pensions Policy Institute and a number of disability charities. He also served on the board of European Disability Forum, and represented Europe on the world-wide Executive Committee of Rehabilitation International.
Amongst his numerous publications, Sir Bert authored Seat Belts and Disabled People, The Employer's Guide to Disabled People, and Social Justice and Disabled People.
Sir Bert was appointed an OBE in 1984, a CBE in 2000 and knighted in 2007.