Old Farnhamians' Association

2007 Farnham Lecture

Leonard Cheshire Disability


Bryan Dutton CBE

21 November, 2007

In spite of the pouring rain and competition from England versus Croatia at soccer, the 2007 Farnham Lecture entitled 'Leonard Cheshire Disability' was attended by well over one hundred people. Speaker Bryan Dutton CBE, the Director General of the charity, was introduced by Cyril Trust, President of the Old Farnhamians' Association and Chairman of the Farnhamian 400 Trust, who proceeded to give a fascinating insight into this huge operation. 

He told the audience about Leonard Cheshire and his courage in the RAF in World War Two, then how he started the charity at Le Court near Petersfield. He was still the only person to have been given the Victoria Cross, the highest award for bravery in wartime, and the Order of Merit, the highest award for contribution to humanity. From small beginnings the charity moved abroad, with centres in India and South Africa, and now has a presence in over 50 countries in the world. The speaker showed a short film of their work in Kenya, where they had pioneered 'inclusive education' providing hundreds of disabled children with proper schooling alongside mainstream children. The scheme was being adopted in other countries and at last governments are recognising that disabled people have a contribution to make to the community. Each country is responsible for its own Leonard Cheshire scheme with the formula and know how provided by the British headquarters. 

The charity is now the largest for disabled people worldwide and in the year 2006/2007 had an expenditure of 143.4 million. In the United Kingdom alone it supports over 21,000 disabled people with a combination of residential services, day services, care at home services and supported living services. Bryan Dutton regards the organisation as innovative and many of their initiatives are taken up by government sooner or later. 

Bryan Dutton explained that the time had come to identify the name of Leonard Cheshire with disabled people more clearly and only recently the name and logo had been altered to 'Leonard Cheshire Disability'. A campaign had begun in November on TV, radio and in the press to announce the change and a sample of the TV adverts, incorporating the popular Aardman Animations (Wallis & Grommit), was shown to the audience. 

Answering questions Bryan Dutton explained that there was a difference in physically and mentally disabled and the former had been their main area of work. However, they are now expanding into the problems of mental disability. 

Cyril Trust closed the 19th Farnham Lecture by thanking the speaker for an excellent and informative talk. This was the first time that the Old Boys had combined with a charity to present the talk and two thirds of the money taken at the door will be given to Bells Piece, the local Leonard Cheshire home.



Left to right: Dick Sheppard (Chairman of Bells Piece); Cyril Trust; Carol Cockburn (Town Mayor);
Sir Peter Anson; John Crotty; Bryan Dutton (Director General of Leonard Cheshire Disability);
Tony Gatfield; Mike Yeadon (Fundraiser for Bells Piece); Dame Elizabeth Anson.


400 Trust
Return to Homepage