Obituary: Campaigner for disabled rights Pip Raymond-Cox turned serious illness to her advantage
- Credit: Archant
At the age of 34, Pip Raymond-Cox was struck down with multiple sclerosis.
But Mrs Raymond-Cox turned it to her advantage – campaigning for disabled rights and becoming the first disabled woman to hold the post of Lady Mayoress of Westminster.
She promoted accessibility for physically-disabled people in hotels, shops, churches, schools, buses, underground trains and other public places.
And when invited to public functions, she would shamelessly embarrass her hosts by writing back to say that while she would have loved to attend, a lack of accessibility prevented her.
It certainly worked in the case of the German Ambassador, who took immediate action to rectify the situation. Mrs Raymond-Cox was, of course, delighted to attend his next function where she would have charmed all the guests as one of her skills was being able to say thank-you in 44 different languages.
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Mrs Raymond-Cox, the great-great-granddaughter of Sir Charles Barry, who designed the Houses of Parliament, died in her sleep at the age of 76 – 10 days after celebrating her 54th wedding anniversary.
She had been diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 1973 and, during the last 10 years of her life, was confined to a wheelchair.
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Although her condition curtailed her wider political ambition to become an MP, it did not stop her jetting around the globe as foreign rights manager for a large children’s publisher.
She was also a Conservative Camden councillor from 1968 to 1971, where she was chairman of the race relations committee – doing such a good job that she was asked to stay on as vice-chair even after losing her seat. In 1997, she became Lady Mayoress of Westminster and was awarded an MBE the following year.
She has been remembered at a service held at the Royal Memorial Chapel at Sandhurst in Camberley, Surrey – having retired to Camberley from her former home in Little Venice. Around 250 guests honoured her memory, including friends, family, her favourite fishmonger and hairdresser, former Lord Mayors, current councillors and the current Lord Mayor of Westminster, Cllr Angela Harvey.
Mrs Raymond-Cox’s husband Ronnie, himself a former Tory Westminster councillor, said: “Pip loved people, travel, languages, singing, dancing, cats, owls and other birds and creating gardens.She had a great, albeit sometimes wicked, sense of humour. She was a fighter and an achiever.”
Pip Raymond-Cox MBE died on December 23, 2012. She is survived by her husband, three daughters and four granddaughters.