On Friday 6th July, The Brain Charity held their awards ceremony.  We are delighted to say the 2 of our  members received awards on the night.  Tracy Wynne received the Volunteer of the year award for her work at The Brain Charity.  Well done Tracy!

Patrick Burke was the winner of the Bert Massie Lifetime Achievement Award.  This award honours an individual who has overcome obstacles they have had to face and in doing so, have become a positive role model for others.  This is why Patrick won the award:

“The individual we are celebrating tonight was born with a learning disability and because of this, he spent his childhood living in large institutions in and around Liverpool as did many children born with learning disabilities at this time.

Calderstones Hospital was at its largest in terms of the number of people living there in the 1960s and 1970s when approximately 2,400 people with learning disabilities lived on the wards there.

Our winner this evening spent the vast majority of his childhood and adult life living within these institutions.

At that time Calderstones, along with many other institutions, was an incredibly harsh and dysfunctional place to live.  The children and adults living in such places were systematically and institutionally abused on a major scale.

After changes to the way our society viewed disabled people our winner was eventually allowed to move out into the community and to gain his own independence.  Since then and for the last 30 years, he has been a volunteer for People First Merseyside.  He is one of the founding members of the group which comes together to raise awareness of the issues faced by people with a learning disability and campaigns against the injustices they face.

Our winner is a strong public speaker for the organisation who bravely and openly discusses the horrors of the past and the personal abuses he has suffered in order to teach the world about what life was like for people with disabilities living in such institutions.  He has regularly stated that he wants to make sure people know what happened to him to make sure that this never happens again.

It takes great courage and strength to survive being brought up in such devastating circumstances.  It is hard to imagine how an adult can cope in an environment without freedom, choice or dignity.  The idea that a child could cope with this and go on to become such a kind hearted, high spirited and positive individual is testament to the human spirit and we are all very proud to have him in our community.

He is a warm, thoughtful and humble gentleman who deserves every bit of the praise and recognition he is receiving.”

At People First Merseyside we are all so proud of Patrick for winning this award.  He has been an outstanding leader, advocate for other people with a learning disability and is a really valued member of the team.  This year we celebrate our 30th Anniversary and Patrick has been there every step of the way.  Thank You Patrick.


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