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Jackie Ashley & Andrew Marr to give the 2016 Alf Morris Lecture

The Disabled Living Foundation (DLF) is delighted to announce that the second Alf Morris Lecture will be given by Andrew Marr, journalist and TV presenter, and his wife, Guardian journalist Jackie Ashley. The Lecture is being held at 7.00pm on Thursday March 17th 2016 at the Shaw Theatre, London.

Andrew and Jackie will be discussing their experiences adapting to life after Andrew's stroke in 2013. This will be the first time they have talked as a couple about their experiences, sharing their insights on rehabilitation and the need for better access to help and equipment.

Both Andrew and Jackie had previously been aware of living with disability through Jackie’s father, the late Jack Ashley, who was MP for Stoke on Trent from 1966 to 1992 before being ennobled as Baron Ashley of Stoke. Following a routine ear operation in 1967, Jack became profoundly deaf but, being tenacious and driven, he dedicated the rest of his life to campaigning for disability rights. He was a founder of the All-Party Parliamentary Disability Group, which was a vital support to Alf Morris when the latter was driving what became the Chronically Sick & Disabled Persons Act through Parliament. He was also instrumental in getting the Disability Discrimination Act passed in 1995.

Looking forward to the Lecture, they said:

“Alf Morris and Jack Ashley dedicated their parliamentary careers to challenging the limitations imposed by society on people with disabilities. Both believed that practical help could be transformative, enriching not just individual lives but families and whole communities. The Alf Morris Lecture is just a part of their legacy and, with healthcare provision under increasing strain, we believe its message of empowerment through knowledge is more important than ever before."

Andrew and Jackie, a warm, funny and very engaging couple, will ‘interview’ one another at the Alf Morris Lecture. Jackie will reflect on her background and the work of her father, whilst Andrew will focus more on regaining his independence. Discussing how his previous knowledge of independent living for people with disabilities contrasted with his own experiences, he will share with the audience his problems in obtaining support and finding suitable equipment – things he believes should be readily available to all.

Andrew and Jackie are aware that, thanks to their ability to pay privately and their confidence to pursue necessary support and information, they are faring better than many. They are also well aware that change needs to be made, and they want to effect that change. Although complimentary about the NHS hospital care Andrew received, they are prepared to make political points about insufficient funding for aftercare and believe this should be available to help people rebuild their independence and quality of life.

Describing his stroke as similar to instant ageing, Andrew’s insights into adjusting to sudden change focus not only on adaptations for the home, but the ability to work and travel, as well as relationships with family and friends. Andrew commented:

“Every year, millions of British people, either disabled or older, suffer frustration, despair and pain because of relatively simple problems, which can be solved. The help and equipment is all around them: but they do not know how or where to obtain it.

"This is an enormously under-reported, national problem. It does not require brilliant new scientific advances, just practical, joined-up help to transform numerous lives, which could be so much happier. We are coming together as a couple for the first time to speak at the forthcoming Alf Morris Lecture on our personal experiences and the need for expert impartial advice. We are doing this in part to express our support for the excellent work the DLF does in providing practical help to older and disabled people, their families, and carers”.

Attracting an audience that includes legislators, activists, professionals and healthcare industry representatives, The Alf Morris Lecture is fast becoming the leading annual event in the disability calendar. It is radical, inspirational and agenda-setting.

Launched by the Disabled Living Foundation, The Alf Morris Fund for Independent Living was set up to honour a man who was one of our greatest social reformers. The Fund will help people find out about the resources available to keep them independent, and enable them to make choices. Its purpose echoes Alf’s vision of, in his own words, “adding life to years rather than just years to life".

Ticket prices start at £25 with concessions available. Guests can attend a drinks reception before the lecture at 6.00pm, with a celebratory dinner afterwards at 8.15pm in the Pullman St Pancras Hotel. All monies raised will be donated to The Alf Morris Fund for Independent Living.

To buy a ticket, please call 020 7432 8006, email alfmorrislecture@dlf.org.uk or visit http://alfmorrislecture2016.eventbrite.co.uk

For further information, please contact:

Janet Seward
Partnership Manager, Business Development & Fundraising
Disabled Living Foundation
020 7289 6111 / 07765 241462

Andrew Gubbins
C.A.S Marketing
07771 800434
01491 578888

Disabled Living Foundation (DLF) is a national charity that has been providing expert and impartial advice on independent living for over 45 years. It recently merged with the leading disability charity, Shaw Trust.


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