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Newlife has paid tribute to Lord Morris of Manchester, a true champion for the disability rights movement and a long-standing advisor to the charity. He died last week (August 12), aged 84.

Lord Morris recently supported Newlife’s report – From The Front Line – into provision of essential equipment for disabled and terminally ill children. He said of this: “I warmly applaud Newlife Foundation for the work they do to pick up the pieces of a broken system and also for exposing the realities of life today for these children.”

Following publication of From The Front Line, he tabled a Parliamentary Question in June, highlighting the findings of the report.

Newlife CEO Sheila Brown, OBE, who had worked with Lord Morris over recent years, said: “We are all saddened to hear of Lord Morris’s death. He was very generous with his knowledge and support for our cause and a real statesman. The act he introduced over 40 years ago was the first disability legislation in the World and meant that the UK has led positive development ever since. Every disabled person is supported today as a result of Alf’s original determination and advocacy. He will be greatly missed.”

Alfred Morris was born in impoverished circumstances Manchester in 1928, one of eight children. His father died when Alf was seven, having been badly wounded in the First World War. “I know how a whole family’s life is affected if one member is disabled,” he recalled in later life.

Two years after starting work as an office boy, Alf joined the Labour party aged 16 and became national chairman of the Labour League of Youth at 22. After several years in local politics he won the Parliamentary seat for Manchester’s Wythenshawe constituency in 1964.

He introduced the pioneering Chronically Sick and Disabled Persons Act and in 1974 became Britain’s first Minister for Disabled People.

In 2011 Lord Morris invited Sheila and Newlife Cannock Volunteers to Westminster Abbey to celebrate 40 years since the Act.