Carole Armour, UK

02_08_spina_bifida-carole.jpgMy father was a founder member of ASBAH (UK) and so I have been involved with the association, both nationally and locally, for most of my life.
My involvement with "Your Voice" (the ASBAH Disabled Users' forum) has lasted about ten years. I have attended, and helped organize, some of the events that the group has arranged in that time, including two big conferences in 1997 and 2000. Last year (2003) I was the chair of "Your Voice" and became more involved with how ASBAH thinks and operates (for example, in matters such as funding for the group). As chair there is always someone you need to speak to:  here, a knowledge of other members' skills is particularly useful, together with an awareness of whether a member is temporarily unavailable to help for, say, medical or private reasons.
In the past, I have taken on the challenges of moving from my parents' bungalow to sheltered housing, then to council housing and, finally, to living fully in the community with my partner Malcolm, who I have known for fourteen years. Before moving to Leicester twelve years ago from Sussex, I worked for twenty years in a large secondary school as a telephonist / receptionist full-time during term time.
I have been on the Leicester ASBAH committee for ten years and Malcolm joined the committee about four years ago. The two of us spend a lot of our spare time growing plants to sell for the association. I also arrange trips for our local members which have been well attended.
I am also on our local access committee, which keeps an eye on access issues in the community such as public transport, shops, pubs and other public buildings.
I have also travelled quite widely to such places as France, Spain, Ireland, the U.S.A. and Canada (where I went horse-riding in the Rocky Mountains). As the years have gone by my self-confidence has increased and, although I still get worried by trying anything new for the first time, I usually manage not to let that put me off - although I confess that I'm thinking long and hard before agreeing to Malcolm's latest suggestion that I try paragliding in my wheelchair (and yes it can be done!!).

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