Jimmy McIntosh MBE 11 November 1939 – 30 May 2014

Jimmy-macintosh- big web

Jimmy McIntosh, disability rights campaigner and Scottish Charity Champion 2010, has died aged 74

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3rd June 2014 by TFN Guest 5 Comments

Jimmy McIntosh after winning the Charity Champion award at the Scottish Charity Awards 2010

Jimmy McIntosh after winning the Charity Champion award at the Scottish Charity Awards 2010

Well known across Scotland, disability rights campaigner Jimmy McIntosh was also well loved by many. He was a forthright campaigner for disability rights and was awarded the MBE in 2006 in recognition of years of determination and tenacity in fighting for people’s rights and challenging discrimination.

Jimmy was also recognised by the Daily Record with the Senior Hero Award in 2006 and voted Scotland’s Charity Champion at the Scottish Charity Awards 2010. That night, there was not a dry eye in the house – including Jimmy’s.

Born on Saturday 11 November 1939 in Kingussie, Jimmy had cerebral palsy and his mother was told by doctors that he would never be able to do anything for himself. Jimmy spent the first few years of his life in the care of his mum and grandparents, who refused to bow to social pressure to move him to an institution.

However, following his grandfather's death in 1943, his aunt placed Jimmy in Raigmore Hospital in Inverness, where doctors predicted that he wouldn’t see his 8th birthday. Living alongside disabled veterans and other adults, there was no wheelchair small enough, so Jimmy was transported around in a wheelbarrow.

In 1950, having defied the doctors yet again, Jimmy was sent to East Park Home in Glasgow and, in 1956, to Gogarburn Hospital in Edinburgh.

After 40 years in institutions, most of us would have had a deep bitterness towards our fate, but not Jimmy. There was never a bitter bone in his body, just plenty of energy, vision and commitment to make things better.

Life in Gogarburn in the 1950s and 60s was hard. The wards were locked and the population included a range of people with different needs, from physical disabilities like Jimmy to learning disabilities, mental health issues and even criminals sent there by the courts. It was run at the time by Dr Bailley, who Jimmy was to have many unpleasant encounters with. Recalling that time later, Jimmy would retell a catalogue of “treatments” that would see people sent to jail by today’s standards.

However, Jimmy survived and began to thrive as conditions improved. In 1981, as a member of the Gogarburn patients committee, he and three others took the government to court and won the right for patients to vote.

Jimmy met the love of his life, Elizabeth, in 1976 and they married in Gogarburn on 17 August 1983. In December of that year they left Gogarburn for their first home, more than 40 years after Jimmy was first institutionalised. To put this into context, the minimum term for life imprisonment before you can apply for parole is 15 years.

After 40 years in institutions, most of us would have had a deep bitterness towards our fate, but not Jimmy. There was never a bitter bone in his body, just plenty of energy, vision and commitment to make things better.

Jimmy's achievements over the years are too many to mention. Taking a lead in service user groups, Jimmy helped set up Scottish Advocacy in 1996. He sat on the People First committee, Edinburgh Development Group and was a long serving board member of Partners in Advocacy of which he was chair for over six years. He was immensely proud of the staff and volunteers of each of these charities and honoured to play a part in their journey.

Jimmy was instrumental in fighting for accessible transport, sat on many council committees and the Social Services Council, actively campaigned on issues such as bullying and hate crime and continued to campaign right up to the last local elections, when he stood as an independent candidate.

An inspirational person who deserves to be long remembered, Jimmy was a survivor, a battler and above all a people’s champion who believed in the right to speak up for those less able.

Losing Jimmy McIntosh, who passed away on Friday 30 May at the age of 74, will make this a sadder world. All those who loved and knew him though are blessed with fond memories and commitment to carry on his legacy.

Tribute provided by friends and colleagues of Jimmy McIntosh

Jimmy's funeral is at 1pm on Thursday, 12 June at the main Mortonhall Crematorium

3rd June 2014 by Alex Thomson

One of my most memorable moments at the Scottish Charity Awards over the past 7 years was Jimmy winning charity champion, a truly inspirational gentleman who will be sadly missed.

3rd June 2014 by Lorna Wynn

JIMMY MAC - to all who knew him fought tirelessly for disabled rights and his acheivments are too many to mention . He was instrumental in fighting for the right for disabled people to vote acessible transport advocacy and many mzmy other things . Scotlannd has lost a special person and we will be poorer without him . My friend and inspiration. Goodnight Jimmy rest well xxxx

5th June 2014 by Kitty Joyce

I am very sad that we have lost Jimmy. I loved him as a great friend who understood me really well. We had many laughs and I always called him 'Granddad' really can't remember how it came about but we had lots of fun with it. Will miss you Kitty x

10th June 2014 by Martin Paul

Jimmy contributed to this book on Gogarburn - a good read. http://www.amazon.co.uk/Gogarburn-Lives-Nigel-Ingham/dp/B005E94M56/ref=sr_1_3?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1402404911&sr=1-3

12th June 2014 by Scott Finnie

From the moment we met I was taken back from Jimmy's achievements, Jimmy was a real hero for many and my perfect idol. Was an honour to have met and worked with you, best wishes and rip Jimmy.