The Mary Arnold Tribute Page

by Laurence Arnold


Dear Mr Arnold,

At the meeting of the Council held on the 16th July, 1997, 1 referred to the sad death of your mother, Mary.

I wish to express the Council's thanks for your mother's valuable service during her time as Chair of the Coventry Council for the Disabled, and as a member of the Coventry Health Committee and Coventry Legal and Income Rights Trust Management Committee.

I should also like to associate myself and the officers of the Council with these sentiments.

Yours sincerely,

John Mutton

Lord Mayor


Dear Mr. Arnold,

At the meeting of the Coventry Joint Health Committee (JCC) on the 18 th July, 1997, Councillor Chater, who was chairing the meeting, spoke of the regret with which he had heard of the recent death of your mother.

The members of the Committee joined Councillor Chater in expressing their deepest sympathy and asked me to convey their sincere condolences to you and your family in your bereavement and to let them know that they are thinking of you at this time.

Yours sincerely,

Joy McLellan,

Principal Committee Officer


Dear Laurence,

On behalf of the Social Care and Health PCC, and friends and colleagues within the Social Services Department, I extend our sincere condolences to you and your family at this very sad time. Mary was a unique and courageous women, who fought tirelessly and selflessly to raise awareness and meet the needs of people with a disability in Coventry. She will be greatly missed by all who knew her and were influenced by her persuasion and determination to rightly keep disability high on everyone's agenda, both in the community and with Elected Members. Mary will be a very tough act to follow.

With sympathy.

Yours sincerely,

Councillor Dave Chater,

Co-Ordinator, Social Care and Health PCC.


Dear Lawrence,

I have just returned from holiday to hear of the death of your mother Mary. I know Councillor Chater has written to you on behalf of the Department but I did also want to write personally,

You must be completely devastated. Mary was such a wonderful indomitable person and so gentle. She did so much to advance the cause of disabled people in the city and elsewhere. She was always able to be firm and clear without being provocative and this approach enabled her to achieve so much. I know she suffered a great deal but always did her best to keep smiling and working.

My thoughts are with you and other members of the family. Look after yourselves. Yours sincerely,

W.J. Hendley,

Director of Social Services.


Dear Laurence

I was so shocked and upset to hear of Mary's death. She was such a lively person & an inspiration to many of us. It was an honour to know her and to work alongside her.

She will be missed by more people than it is easy to imagine. Her work on disability issues was of enormous practical importance to many people, but her energy and enthusiasm inspired many others to stand up and fight for their rights and for justice.

My thoughts are with you at this sad time.

Yours sincerely

Dave Sternberg

Team Leader Community Economic Development


Dear Mr Arnold

I write on behalf of Our library staff to say how sad we all were to hear of your Mother's sudden death.

Everyone who met her could not fail to be impressed by her Courtesy and kindness as well as her unfailing cheerfulness and good Ilui-nour despite the pain and discomfort which she experienced. We shall all miss her readiness to help in anyway possible as well as her determination to ensure the best possible for disabled people in Coventry Without counting tile cost to herself Her contribution to the life of our City will be sadly missed.

Please accept the condolences of all the staff of the library service in your loss. Your Mother will be missed by us all but the loss to vou and all your family must be almost unbearable at the moment.

Please accept this expression of sympathy to you and to all your family on behalf of all of us in Coventry Libraries, especially those of us working in the Central Library.

Yours sincerely

Myrddin Morgan

Senior Team Librarian


Dear Laurence

I was so very sorry to hear of the loss of your mother over the weekend. Over the years I have greatly enjoyed the opportunity of meeting and chatting with her and it will just not seem right to attend a meeting or event concerned with disabled people and for her not to be there.

I can well remember the first time we met, when I was City Librarian and you and she were first setting up a drop-in service in the old Information Centre. When we got to know each other better, your mother was fond of pulling my leg that I gave you both a grilling to ensure that you would be able to give disabled people a good service - but she always ended up by saying "and quite right that you did too!"

There are many people in the city who have good cause to be grateful to Mary for the work she did to put disability matters clearly on the agenda - at a time when there was much less understanding and discussion about the issues than there is today. I hope it will be some slight consolation for you to see so many people who are keen to carry on the good work she started.

I am sure you will be receiving many letters like this over the next few days and appreciate that mere words can be of very limited help. Nevertheless, I would like to offer you my very deepest sympathy.

Yours sincerely,

Roger Hughes

Strategy Co-ordinator, Social Justice


Dear Mr Arnold,

On behalf of Coventry Healthcare NHS Trust, I would like to express our deepest sympathy on the death of your mother. She will be greatly missed.

Mary was a tireless worker on behalf of wheelchair users and the wider community of people with disabilities. Her contribution to quality and consumer issues was much appreciated by the Trust. She was highly valued as an informed user voice, speaking out for those less able to express or assert their views.

Our thoughts and prayers are with you, your brother and family at this sad time.

Yours sincerely

Charles Goody, Chairman

Dear Mr. Arnold,

I am writing to offer you and your brother my sincere condolences on the untimely death of your mother, Mary. I have worked with her since I arrived in Coventry in 1993 and always found her views very constructive and helpful. I know from other members of staff here that Mary has been a great source of sensible advice for many years and her work with Coventry Community Health Council was invaluable.

She will be sadly missed by staff at Coventry Health Authority, Coventry City Council, Coventry Community Health Council and many other organisations throughout the City. She was a lady who gave a lot and was an outstanding advocate for the disabled people of Coventry.

Yours sincerely,

Chris Howgrave-Graham

Chief Executive


Dear Mr Arnold

I was so sorry to hear of the Sudden death of your mother. Please accept my Sincere condolences.

Mary was an extraordinary campaigner on behalf of disabled people and she will be sadly missed in Coventry.

I do hope many of the things she strived for will be realised by the new Government and that the lives of disabled people will be much improved as a result.

Yours sincerely

Geoffrey Robinson MP


Dear Laurence,

Please accept on be half of Mary's family our deepest condolences on her death.

Coventry has lost one of its best campaigners, and one of its most tenacious fighters for the rights of disabled and deprived people.

She will be sorely missed, and her memory will remain with us for a long time to come.

Yours sincerely

J. Gould, Secretary.


On behalf of Bert Massie, RADAR's Director, and the Members' Representative Committee, please accept our sincere condolences following your recent bereavement. The news of Mary's death was received with sadness by everyone at RADAR.

Laurence, I greatly enjoyed working with Mary on the Members' Representative Committee and valued both her comments and her support- 1 will miss the knowledge she brought to the sessions and her good humour.

As well as her support for RADAR's activities, Mary made an important contribution to disability issues, both for Coventry Council for Disabled People and with her involvement on the many successful tribunals, I know that many people benefited from the important work that she did.

Vivien Fallows (Mrs)

Head of Member Services


Dear Lawrence,

The staff at Disability West Nhdlands are very saddened to hear of Mary's recent death - We would all wish to extend our deepest sympathy to you at this very sad time -

It is widely recognised that Mary has for many years been one of the key personalities working towards equal rights and opportunities on behalf of disabled people in the West Midlands . Whenever I met Mary myself I always found her to be a warm, supportive and highly committed person. Her death is a great loss to the people of Coventry, local disability organisations and disabled people generally .

I will be including a short item on Mary's death in the next edition of Pinpoint, due out in early September. I would invite you or someone else from C.C.D.P. to send us a longer obituary for the November/December edition, should you wish to do this the copy deadline is October 5th.

Further to our recent discussions, I would clarify here that D.W.M continue to enjoy a reciprocal arrangement with C.C.D.P., exchanging "Pinpoint" and "Trunkcalls".

I would again wish to extend our condolences to you in this time of great personal loss and I am sure that all at DWM would offer our support to yourself and to the Organisation in the coming months.

Yours sincerely,

Peter Millington

Information Officer/Editor of Pinpoint


Dear Mr Arnold

I was very sad to learn that your mother died earlier this month. Please accept my sincere condolences on your great loss.

As you know, your mother was a most effective and respected member of the Disability Appeal Tribunal and it was my pleasure and privilege to work with her in the tribunal room and on training days. She will be much missed, but remembered with affection and gratitude.

Yours sincerely


Regional Chairman


Dear Laurence

It was with great regret and somewhat of a shock that I read about the sudden passing of your mother Mary. Please accept the condolences of everyone at Ring and Ride on your sad loss.

Whilst your mothers passing is a loss to the community I personally know what a great blow it will have been to you, having seen the care and affection you lavished on your mother over the past 9 years. She will be greatly missed by everyone especially those who she spoke for in her capacity as Chair of the Council for the Disabled.

Yours very sincerely

Stan Oakley

District Manager



Dear Mr. Arnold,

I first met your mother when we were patients in Sister Sheepy's Ward 10 at Whitley. She was on her feet then.
Since then I have seen you bring her to Dr. Zaph's clinic, first in a wheel chair and eventually in her magnificent "battle wagon".
She may not have worn shining armour but if ever there was a champion fighting for others that was Mary Arnold.

I feel flowers are most unsuitable for such a fighter and am arranging for some young English trees (probably Oak) to be planted by the Woodland Trust and will seed you the Certificate when I receive it.

Yours Sincerely,





Site Navigator

 Mary Arnold's original page describing her adventures with an unusual electric wheelchair.
 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

Copyright 1997 Laurence Arnold
This page was created on, Saturday October 25th 1997
Most recent revision, Sunday, October 25, 1998