It is with great sadness, but an honour, that I write this tribute to Daphne Branchflower. My first memory of meeting Daphne was at the first open meeting of the Avon Coalition of Disabled People 30 years ago, in which she was instrumental in setting it up (later to become the West of England Coalition of Disabled People). She was also involved in numerous other committees, including becoming an early Trustee of WECIL and being an Advisor of Bristol Disability Equality Forum (BDEF) for many years. Daphne served alongside me as a member of the Executive when BDEF transitioned from being a part of Bristol City Council to being fully independent.
Daphne was never one to blow her own trumpet, but was inspirational, courageous, motivated and forceful in all her campaigning work, including working tirelessly in trying to save the Independent Living Fund. Only recently, Daphne became a member of Social Work Action Network South West, including meeting up with Managers of Social Services in Bristol to remind them of their duties regarding Direct Payments and Prepayment cards. Daphne constantly reminded us all about how Disabled people’s rights are moving backwards, and I know she would want us all to remember her as a passionate campaigner and advocate for Disabled people who may not have felt as empowered as herself.
It was a pleasure to have known Daphne as a fellow campaigner, but also as a long-time friend.