A CAMPAIGNER who fought to improve the lives of disabled people in Cheshire has been remembered in Vickersway Park.

Two memorial benches were unveiled this week in honour of Christine Pickthall, a founding member of Vale Royal Disability Services who sadly died last summer.

Christine was training to become a PE teacher in 1972 when she was injured during a gymnastics routine. She went on to gain a degree and qualify as an English teacher.

In 1991 she helped form VRDS, of which she was chairman. A year later she became a founding member of the Cheshire Disabilities Federation, and over the years helped promote and develop services to support disabled people in Cheshire.

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Her legacy in mid Cheshire includes Nothwich and Winsford’s Shopmobility services, VRDS’s outreach service, short-term wheelchair loan scheme, disability benefits advisory and more.

She was also creator and editor of the free, eight-page VRDS monthly newsletter distributed to disabled people, their families, carers, volunteers and groups.

In 2004, Christine was awarded the MBE by the Queen.

She died at her home in Weaverham on June 2, aged 66.

At the family’s request, the benches have been installed at Vickersway Park, which has undergone a raft of improvements in recent years under the stewardship of Northwich Town Council.

Town mayor Cllr Alison Gerrard was present at the unveiling on Thursday, May 9.

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She said: “It was an honour and a privilege to be invited to join the family in unveiling the bench for Christine.

“I have known her a long time, and I know she worked very hard in her work with VRDS.

“I feel it is a fitting tribute to a remarkable lady.”

Weaver Vale MP Mike Amesbury also worked closely with Christine in recent years.

He said: “She was a truly formidable woman and an inspirational character who championed the cause of disabled and vulnerable people in my constituency and beyond.

“She leaves a true legacy behind having directly improved the lives of countless people living with disabilities.”

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The Cheshire Centre for Independent Living added: “Christine’s zest for life and her funny – and accurate – anecdotes of ‘there being more to life than basket weaving...’ will stay with those who knew her forever.

“But it was her passion and dedication in the disability field, campaigning for the right to independence, that has inspired many and changed the lives of disabled people forever.”

n northwichguardian.co.uk