City remembers disability rights hero and LJMU Honorary Fellow

Image of Sir Bert Massie

The autobiography of alumnus Sir Bert Massie CBE DL, A Life Without Limits, will be launched at Liverpool Town Hall on Monday, 24 June.

Sir Bert graduated from Liverpool Polytechnic in 1977 with a degree in Social Studies. He went on to become
 a leading disability rights activist and was awarded his Honorary Fellowship at LJMU in 2002 for services to equality and promoting the rights of disabled people. He also served as a Governor of the university for nine years. As a regular visitor to LJMU in this official capacity, Sir Bert enjoyed an altogether more informal event in July 2017 when he joined members of his graduating class for a 40 year reunion on Hope Street.

After contracting polio as an infant, Sir Bert spent his life as a wheelchair user and could relate to the discrimination that disabled people face every day. The autobiography tells the story of Sir Bert’s life in Liverpool, the prejudice he faced due to his disability and his journey as a disability rights activist. All proceeds will be donated to the charity, Local Solutions, of which Sir Bert was a longstanding supporter and trustee.

The Town Hall event will be hosted by Joe Anderson OBE, Mayor of Liverpool, and will pay tribute to the life and work of Sir Bert. Guests will hear speeches from Lady Massie, Sir Bert’s wife and former CEO of the Disability Rights Commission, Bob Niven, Chairman of Local Solutions and Steve Hawkins, Local Solutions’ Chief Executive, among others.

Sir Bert’s expansive career saw him take on several important roles including Chairman of the Disability Rights Commission, Chief Executive of the Royal Association for Disability and Rehabilitation and Governor of Motability. He played a significant role in the establishment of the Disability Discrimination Act 1995, was appointed an OBE in 1984, a CBE in 2000, knighted in 2007 and appointed as a Deputy Lieutenant of Merseyside in 2014.

Sir Bert sadly died in October 2017, after losing his battle with cancer.

Steve Hawkins commented: "Sir Bert is greatly missed by us all - his wise and humorous guidance was inspiring. The cause of the human rights of disabled people, championed by Sir Bert, is something that remains a key priority for the board at Local Solutions."


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