Tributes have been paid to an Arnold man who championed the rights of disabled people in Nottinghamshire – leaving a lasting legacy for people across the UK.
Terry Gallagher, who helped launch Nottinghamshire’s first disability registration card, has died at the age of 64.
The former teacher, who died from bronchopneumonia and heart disease, worked with the county council to create the card in 2008 after he experienced discrimination from people who had challenged him about using a disabled toilet.
Although he did not appear to be disabled because he did not use a wheelchair or walking aid, Mr Gallagher had suffered from peritonitis, a life-threatening condition which meant he had to have most of his digestive system removed.
As a result, he needed to use disabled facilities.
The identification card, believed to be the first of its kind in the country, enabled people to prove they had a disability if challenged.
Mr Gallagher’s ideas contributed towards the creation of an Access Card, which was rolled out nationwide earlier this year by disability consultancy firm Nimbus.
Paul McKay, a service director at Nottinghamshire County Council’s adult social care and health department, said:
“Terry’s input and support was invaluable when we first created the disability card locally.
“It went on to improve the lives of people with a disability across the country by inspiring the national Access Card.”
Martin Austin, from Nimbus, added:
“I was fortunate enough to have spent some time discussing with Terry the merits of the disability card he had developed with Nottinghamshire County Council.
“These conversations contributed greatly to what became the Access Card, which is now a nationally recognisable product supporting hundreds of disabled people.
“Terry’s continued focus on retaining the dignity of himself and others is now a lasting legacy.”
Charlotte Throssel, service manager at local chairty Disability Direct Nottingham, said Mr Gallagher was an “advocate” and an “ally” for disabled people across the UK.
“Unfortunately, even in 2015, we need the Access Card. Somebody who could campaign on behalf of disabled people in the right way is going to be sadly missed.”