We are delighted to announce that Celia Thomas, Baroness Thomas of Winchester has kindly agreed to become patron of Driving Mobility. She has expressed a willingness to assist us with raising issues in Parliament relating to disability and transportation. She is Lib Dem Lords spokesperson for Disability and herself suffers from limb girdle muscular dystrophy.
Celia Thomas was born in 1945 and brought up in Winchester where she worked, among other places, at the Cathedral’s Choir School, and raising money for the Cathedral. She was a founding member of the Winchester Liberal Party in the 1960s, and was an election agent there in October 1974, and in 1987 and 1992 in Brecon and Radnor. She worked in the Commons for the Liberal Party Leader, Jeremy Thorpe, from 1975-6, and from 1977 to 2005 she was head of the Liberal, then Liberal Democrat Whips’ Office in the House of Lords, and is a recognised expert on Lords’ procedure. She was made a Life Peer in April.
For three years she was a member of the Merits of Statutory Instruments Committee (voted Committee of the Year 2007), and the Liaison Committee. From June 2010 – 15, she was Chair of the Delegated Powers and Regulatory Reform Committee, and a member of the Procedure Committee. In 2015 she was the initiator, and then a member of the Equality and Disability Committee which reported in March 2016.
She is Honorary President of the Winchester Liberal Democrats, Vice-President of the Lloyd George Society, a Vice President and Trustee of the Muscular Dystrophy Campaign, and a Patron of Avonbrook Projects Abroad. She is a Parliamentary Patron of Westminster Employment Forum. Celia is also a Patron of Winchester Churches Nightshelter, and of Thrive (a charity helping disabled people to discover gardening). In 1991 she was diagnosed with limb girdle muscular dystrophy, and in 2015 was made Liberal Democrat Disability Spokesperson. (She receives DLA). Her interests range from music and the theatre to butterfly conservation.
Our Chair, Anu Varshney, and CEO Edward Trewhella visited her recently at the House of Lords to agree how we would like to work together, and she expressed her pleasure at being invited to become our Patron.