Burns, William. Changing Society - the Oral History of Scope

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  • Subjects

    Spectators’ experiences

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    Interviewee's home

  • Interviewees

    Burn, William (speaker, male)

  • Interviewers

    Davies, Chris (speaker, male)

  • Abstract

    Became involved with Scope following third child's illness which resulted in cerebral palsy at the age of 18 months. Child spent 9 months in Great Ormond Street Hospital for Sick Children and a further year in their country hospital. William Burn (WB) joined Croydon branch of the Spastics Society with his wife in 1952, met Jean Garwood and were elected to Executive Committee of the Croydon society. Wife took up full-time position as Appeals Director. WB elected to National Council in 1959 at suggestion of Jean Garwood as was parent, Chartered Accountant and successful businessman. Joined Finance Committee. Details of council re-shuffle in May 1960 when Ian Dawson-Shepherd retired from Council, Jack Emms became Chairman and WB was elected Honorary Treasurer. Could no longer combine job and charity work, so retired in 1960 to devote himself to the Spastics Society. Description of amalgamation with the British Council for the Welfare of Spastics. Dr Wheeler - Chairman, Jack Emms - Vice Chairman, Alex Moira - Vice Chairman, WB - Honorary Treasurer. WB became Chairman in 1966. Remained Chairman for 7 years. Talks about relationship between Croydon branch and national branch. Describes the early problems of excessive growth faced by the Society in the early years. Many resources in the 1960s and 1970s channelled into education and the creation of new schools (Delarue). Description of Scope under WB's Directorship. Worked closely with Alex Moira. Main priorities were promoting equality and transport. Talks about working with Sir Keith Joseph, then Social Security Minister, on Motability Scheme. Story of Graham Hill's damning report on the Reliant car. Talks about memories of Jean Garwood and of a tribute to her which he read at the Executive Council following her death. WB's work with charities and taxation; working with National Council of Social Services which linked charities together. Death of Jean Garwood and fate of Coombe Farm. WB's main achievements as Chairman: feels he kept the charity running efficiently. Employed capable staff. Following resignation, WB on Executive Council until 1982. Helped Joyce Smith. Talks about work with Stars Organisation for Spastics (SOS) and working with Vera Lynn, David Jacobs, Brian Rix, and Professor Polani, (Paediatric Research Unit). Memories of the first Paralympics/Olympic Games for the Disabled in 1952 at Stoke Mandeville and of development of Habinteg Housing Association. Talks about importance of SOS, and the contribution which celebrities made to the promotion of the Spastics Society. WB's opinion on Scope's change of name, and move from Park Crescent. Discussion of the dangers which a charity faces when it becomes too large - poor communication, becoming remote, inaccessible and cumbersome. New insights which his own disability have given him, and discussion of the way in which the decisions of a family with a disabled child are dominated by the needs of the child. Discussion of the growing involvement of disabled people within the Scope. WB's attitude to positive discrimination. Importance of good staff to Scope's future. Feels Scope should be primarily for people with cp, but should support other disability charities where issues or concerns overlap. Talks about setting up a Chair in the Paediatric Research Unit at Guy's Hospital. Scope's dramatic impact on WB's life. WB's vision for how a charity should operate. Should be pioneering, not spend majority of time maintaining services which should be provided by central/local government. End of interview.

  • Description

    Interview with William Burn, a past Treasurer and Chairman of Scope; in this interview William speaks of his memories of the Stoke Mandeville Games in 1952

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