The 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.