November 15, 2011
From the Guernsey Press, Saturday 12th November:
Dave’s work for disabled people is recognised.
A memorial stone plaque celebrating the work of disability campaigner Dave Purdy was unveiled yesterday. Crowds gathered at the access ramp to Market Square where the memorial stone was placed.
Mr Purdy was 61 when he died last year after spending nearly 40 years campaigning for the rights of disabled islanders. The ramp linking the Commercial Arcade with Market Square was just one of his achievements.
Bailiff Sir Geoffrey Rowland who was at school at Elizabeth College with Mr Purdy, was pleased islanders were coming together to remember his friend. “Dave has been an inspiration to so many,” he said. He also remembered his last conversation with Dave. ‘I said “Dave, you have achieved so much,” Sir Geoffrey said. ‘He said “Yes, but there is always more to do”.’
Mr Purdy suffered a spinal injury in a swimming accident off Herm when he was a teenager and spent the rest of his life in a wheelchair. He became a founder of the Guernsey Association of Disabled People and a treasurer of the committee that raised funds to set up the Guernsey Cheshire Home and Grow Ltd.
In 2008 he became the vice-chairman of the Guernsey Disability Alliance. GDA non-executive chairman Rob Platts was pleased so many people had come to the event, especially considering the weather. “It’s not often we get to do this and celebrate the life of someone who has made such a difference,” he said. He added that My Purdy’s drive and enthusiasm had been pivotal in improving Guernsey’s disabled access.
Among the many of My Purdy’s friends yesterday, there were also some of the wheelchair users who have benefitted from his work. Roger Vaudin attended the memorial with his son, 33-yer old Lee, who is a full-time wheelchair user. ‘Dave’s work has been a big help and has made access easier,’ he said. But he agreed there was till more work to do.