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Lifelong Campaigner of Deaf Rights Awarded MBE

16 June 2014

The British Deaf Association sends its warm congratulations to Mrs Ruth Myers on being awarded an MBE for services to Improving Telecommunications Access for Deaf People in the Queen’s Birthday Honours list last weekend.

Ruth has campaigned for the Deaf and hard of hearing communities for over 35 years. From the early days of the Deaf Broadcasting Council (DBC) Ruth, alongside Austin Reeves MBE, led campaigns for subtitles and sign language on our television programmes.  Ruth has also been an active and staunch advocate for the improvement of telecommunication in the UK.

Dr Terry Riley OBE, Chair of the BDA, said: “We owe Ruth a debt of gratitude for her unrelenting work for improved access to television and telecommunications for the Deaf and hard of hearing communities. I, along with many of the British Deaf Association staff, feel privileged to have worked with Ruth for so many years.

“I vividly remember when the BDA group were in attendance at the Strangers’ Gallery during the Broadcasting Bill debate. We were informed that various MPs would not accept sign language, but only subtitled programmes. We swallowed our pride and reluctantly accepted the amendment, for fear of losing the Bill entirely. Ruth and her team promised to work with us to campaign for sign language.

“Sure enough, a few years later, sign language was added to the Broadcasting Act 2003. Today, Ruth is still campaigning around the delivery and quality of subtitles. Now, we have in-vision signed programmes, British Sign Language Zone, and other signed programmes which we take for granted. We owe those old stalwarts to the DBC and other groups a round of hand waving. It's fitting that her long and tireless work has now been recognised at long last with this MBE.”