Newbury Blue Plaque for MBE Charity Campaigner and Writer, Doris Page

Newbury Town Council is pleased to announce the unveiling of its 15th blue plaque, to Doris Page (1925-1991), pioneer campaigner and journalist for disabled people.

Doris contracted polio in 1955 and was confined to an iron lung for the rest of her life.  With the support of her husband Ken, she returned home to 39, Essex Street, Newbury in 1957 and campaigned tirelessly for the necessary infrastructure to enable disabled people to lead a viable home life, as a founder member of the charity “Independence at Home”.

She took a postal course in journalism and started to write on disabled issues for the local and national press, under the pen-name “Ann Armstrong”, using specialist equipment which made writing possible.  From 1963-88 she was editor of “The Responaut” magazine (the name may be a contraction of “respiratory” and “astronaut”).

In 1968, Doris was awarded the MBE for her services.  She wrote two books – “Patient’s Prospect” and “Breath of Life” – which were serialised on BBC Woman’s Hour.

Cllr Nigel Foot, Vice-Chair of the Town Council’s Heritage Working Group said, “The present residents of 39 Essex Street, Alison and Mike Joliffe, have very kindly agreed for the blue plaque to be attached to their home, where it will be easily legible from the street.”     

He continued, “The plaque will be unveiled by the Deputy Mayor of Newbury, Cllr Gary Norman, at 1pm on Thursday 5 May 2022.  Members of the public interested in Doris Page’s life and work will be welcome to attend.  The Town Council is very grateful to Mr and Mrs Joliffe, to the Newbury Society for generously contributing £100 to the cost of the plaque, and to Dave Stubbs for advising us on Doris’ life and achievements”.

A detailed description of Doris Page’s life will be included in the “Blue Plaque” pages of the Town Council web site.

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