Sir Bert Massey CBE
Liverpool-born Herbert William (Bert) was born in March 1949, he contracted polio at three months old and was in hospital for five years. In the 1950s there was a pretty low expectation of what you could achieve in that condition and you were doing well if you were still alive at 16. He left school without O levels, so went for private tuition but as all the night-schools in Liverpool had steps he had to do his A levels at a special college in Coventry as it had suitable facilities. Once he was there it made sense to stay on and get a degree, and then he did a postgraduate social work course at Manchester.
Bert Massie has long been involved in getting equal rights for disabled people through his many roles in charities and organisations across the UK including the Royal Association for Disability and Rehabilitation. He had spent almost 30 years campaigning for a better deal for Britain’s ten million disabled people.
Sir Bert has spent almost thirty years campaigning for a better deal for Britain’s ten million disabled people. He has been involved with a large number of disability organisations and has served on a number of government advisory committees concerned with disability.
In 1978 he joined the Royal Association for Disability and Rehabilitation and became its Director in 1990. He remained there until the end of 1999 when he became Chairman of the Disability Rights Commission in January 2000.
Bert was joint author of “Wheelchairs and their use” published in 1986 and “Choosing a Wheelchair” published in 1990.
He was awarded the OBE in 1984 and the CBE in 2000.
He has served on the Disabled Persons Transport Advisory Committee and the National Advisory Committee on Employment of Disabled People. He was deputy chair of the National Disability Council and a member of the Disability Rights Task Force. He was Commissioner of Compact.
Sir Bert received his Knighthood in 2007 in recognition of his work for disabled people.
He became a Liveryman of The Worshipful Company of Wheelwrights in 2008.