Baroness Chapman

Lord Norton

UDW023351_3828The death of Baroness Chapman has been announced.  Though the House has a number of wheelchair-bound peers, she was the first person with a congenital disability to be appointed to the House. 

She was born with brittle bone disease and was no more than two feet or so in height.  After studying maths and business management at Trinity and All Saints College in Leeds, she held a number of posts in Leeds, including serving as a finance clerk with Leeds City Council.  She also chaired the Leeds Centre for Integrated Living and the Leeds United Disabled Organisation.  She was appointed to the Lords as a cross-bench peer in 2004.

In many ways, she reflected what was distinctive about the House of Lords.  The House is enriched by a diverse membership, able to contribute to debate from the perspective of particular experience or expertise.  Nicky Chapman could speak with authority on disability issues and the House provided her with a valuable platform.   She celebrated her 48th birthday last month.

6 comments for “Baroness Chapman

  1. anthony davies
    04/09/2009 at 6:02 pm

    can i send out my sympathy to all of nicks family and friends i have known nicky for some 18 years she was a very strong minded lady who will be missed rest in peace nicky you will be missed

  2. 04/09/2009 at 8:56 pm

    I remember first reading about Baroness Chapman a year or so ago, when she was campaigning for better access to taxis for the disabled. At the time, I searched and found the following article.

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/1482890/Doctors-said-they-could-do-no-more-and-sent-me-home-to-die—Im-still-waiting.html

    The inauspicious headline aside, it was (and is) am enlightening read.

  3. Adrian Kidney
    05/09/2009 at 12:04 pm

    Baroness Chapman was a shining example of the opportunities for the betterment of the country the House of Lords can provide. How else could such a knowledgeable but stricken woman as herself become a key contributor to our laws?

    • franksummers3ba
      05/09/2009 at 10:12 pm

      That’s a good point — your last. There are far more people than will admit it who would really rather not have disabled and very unusual people involved in public life. The movie “The 300” about the battle of Thermopylae reminds us that many cultures did not tolerate the handicapped and has an appeal that many relate too.

      I am too out of touch with the real pulse of Britain to know how it feels but many forms of royalism and especialy Christian royalism have collected a few of the brilliant, brave, charming, learned or even lovely who have traits the masses would not be drawn to and have put them on places to make a diffrence. In tolerating and prizing their contribution we also tolerate and understand those who are more typicaly normal in a different way. Courage in suffering and a sense of humor really are a service to all.
      Wolves and lions tolerate a high degree of deviance in their community and diversity. Termites do not. Each has something to offer as an example and we may follow either path farther than any other creature on Earth if we allow ourselves to do so.

  4. David Thame
    08/09/2009 at 5:06 pm

    Baroness Chapman was a great asset to Parliament – her contributions were significant in all kinds of ways: that she probably never stood a chance of election to the Commons shows – not so much that the Lords is worth three cheers – but that the Commons is massively, seriously, dangerously deficient.

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