I'd called a meeting tonight in Welshpool for people interested in a Consultation Document about the future of hospital services in Shropshire. About 250 people turned up, including one man in a wheelchair who couldn't get into the meeting because the lift was inaccessible. Mick Bates had dropped in for the first 10 minutes of the meeting - so Mick and I held hands and created an arms cradle to carry the gentleman up the flights of stairs to the meeting which had been moved to the Town Hall because so many people came. This was cross party cooperation of the highest order. Maybe a sign of things to come ?
We were not really prepared for so many - so had not organised a mike. My voice is quite strong but those asking questions could not be heard at the back of the hall. The Mayor of Welshpool, Ann Davies, sitting in the front row suggested that I ask questioners to stand up - just as the man in the wheelchair indicated that he wanted to speak. I couldn't resist it. I told the meeting what Ann had said and asked him to stand up to ask his question. It brought the house down. Although I already knew from our adventure getting him in that he had a real sense of fun, looking back, I suppose it was still a bit of a risk. It was a joke that could easily have gone wrong.
As a general rule I try to treat disabled people as if they were not disabled at all. Tonight, it was the right thing to do and the man in the wheelchair made an excellent speech.