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A fond farewell

By Peter Wall, Chairman of the Trustees

Very sadly, one of our Vice Presidents and most devoted supporters, Mary Pownall, died on 11th February 2012, aged 86.

Most of us will remember Mary best from her many years at Pictor School, which, before it became a school for young people with learning disabilities, was Lil Stockdale’s first house. There, Mary took care of the health and welfare of generations of pupils with special needs. She trained as a nurse at Manchester Royal Infirmary and later became Matron at Pictor.

Mary was a most remarkable woman, who gave of her time, knowledge and expertise, generously, freely and tirelessly. Early on, when disability was a source of shame and grief, she was at the forefront in fighting for the rights and dignity of those with very special needs, which today we take for granted.

Mary and her peers, including Lil Stockdale, won for people so very much less able than we are, an acceptance and an understanding by all of us, that in their lives they could achieve so much. She believed that everyone, regardless of ability, should have the opportunity to lead as fulfilled a life as possible and she was one of a band who changed society’s whole perception of disability.

Mary sat on Stockdales’ Care Committee for many years where her wisdom was much prized. She was able naturally to combine the very best of the possible with the practical. She was always a willing ear if needed, although, typically, she insisted on retiring from her Stockdales’ Committee work at the very top of her game. We were honoured that she agreed to be a Vice President.

Mary was also President of the Inner Wheel and was widely involved in all aspects of the community work at her Church. There, she was most fittingly known as ‘very wise and a great encourager’.

At a Service of Thanksgiving at Altrincham Methodist Church on 24th February, the huge difference Mary’s life made to all of ours was remembered and celebrated. We wish Christine, Jane and all Mary’s family every sympathy on their sad loss.

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