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British Deaf Association Pay Tribute to Deaf MP Lord Ashley

26 April 2012

It is with profound sadness that the British Deaf Association learns of the passing of Lord Ashley of Stoke, recognised as a champion of Disabled people and their rights, as well as being thefirst ever re-elected deaf MP in the UK Parliament.

Jack Ashley lost his hearing after an unsuccessful ear operation and feared he may have to resign as an MP and leave politics. However, he overcame this adversity and learned to lip-read.  His deafness never affected his fighting attitude or his ardent campaigning. He was widely known and respected for his unswerving work and commitment in the campaign for better compensation for children disabled by the drug Thalidomide, which was given to mothers to treat morning sickness during the 1950s and 1960s. 

He was a courteous and generous person, always giving his time and energy to improve the lives of deaf people, not only here in the UK but worldwide. He was a Plenary Speaker at the World Federation of the Deaf Congress in Finland 1987 and made an indefinable impression on all who were there, becoming the role model for many deaf people to enter politics, thus epitomising the saying "deaf people can do anything but hear". This being a fitting legacy. 

The BDA send its condolences to Lord Ashley's family. A light has dimmed, but his work remains a shining star.