The Mary Arnold Tribute Page

by Laurence Arnold

Sadly the original author of this site died on 12th July 1997 aged 63. I am maintaining this site as a tribute to a remarkable woman, who lived life to the full and left this world with so much still to do

Mary's sudden and unexpected death, after a short illnesss, was received with shock and astonishment by all who new her, it seemed as if she had always been there and that she would go on for ever championing the rights of disabled people, and helping them in many ways. Few people realised how disabled Mary was, least of all Mary herself.

Only a week before her death she had been interviewed for a position on a Health Trust. The panel were surprised when she turned up in her familiar electric wheelchair, they did not believe that someone with such severe disabilities could have done all of the things which Mary put in her CV. This was what Mary wished for, to be looked at as a person, to focus on her abilities and not her disabilities.

Her abilities were many. She seemed to be a natural chairperson, chairing not only the Council of Disabled People for many years, but also at various times, the Women's Health Network, the wheelchair users group and most recently a sub committee of the CHC. She was a natural representative too. elected onto the Community Health Council, The Joint Health and Social Services Consultative Council, The Transport Users Advisory Group, the Ring and Ride advisory group, The Police Consultative Committee

She was active on management committee's too. The Coventry Law Centre, where she had started as a disability rights volunteer way back in 1982. The Unemployed Workers Project, and for many years until its demise the Coventry Resource and Information Service. Tributes have poured in from all of these groups, most of them remembering her warmth and good humour.

She was known outside of Coventry for her work on RADAR as the voluntary representative for the West Midlands. It is at a meeting of this last group that she was taken ill. It is typical of Mary, that not knowing how ill she really was, she struggled through the meeting, despite fighting for breath all the while.

Mary would not have wanted it any other way. Although her life was short, she packed a lot in. People may have seen her about town in her four wheel drive electric wheelchair the squirrel what they would not know is that on her holidays she would take this up rough unsurfaced tracks, over fields and even half way up Mountains, this was the stuff she was made of, unable to rest for a moment if there was something that needed doing.

It took it out of her, she had rheumatoid arthritis which effected all of her joints, to the extent that she needed a possum to control the electrical devices in her home, and the computer. She was in constant pain. but it was not the Arthritis which killed her. She also had Asthma, and at times she was so short of breath, that she failed to take it seriously anymore, even though she knew it could one day kill her. In July her luck ran out, and we all lost an irreplaceable person.

Mary Arnold died of simply being Mary Arnold and having done the work of most ten Women


Site Navigator

 Mary Arnold's original page describing her adventures with an unusual electric wheelchair.
The whole of the political and voluntary community in Coventry turned out for her funeral, these are some of their tributes 
 Mary in her own words, various writings and thoughts on living with a disability
 What the papers said, Mary was seldom out of the news
Mary's last campaign, to get on an NHS trust board, including her C.V. and her thoughts on the health service
An inspirational poem chosen by Mary's other son, Marcus and read out at her funeral
A selection of photographs


Site Notes
*1 The original quote is from a newspaper epitaph on William Morris whose years in the 19th century 1834 - 1896 almost paralleled Mary's in the 20th
*2 The background music for this page is an old Harvest Hym sequenced by myself. It contains the words "Safely safely gathered in"


Copyright 1997 - 2001 Laurence Arnold
This page was created on, Friday, October 24th 1997
Revised Saturday October 25th 1997
Sunday October 25th 1998
Most recent revision Saturday April 28th 2001