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Previous awareness raising events at the University include a Disability Martial Arts workshop at the Buxton campus.

Former soldier and campaigning hero Simon Weston will be the main speaker during the University of Derby’s Disability History Month – throughout November – which will look at issues including war and disability.

Mr Weston – a former Welsh Guardsman who suffered 46% burns in 1982, when the military transport ship ‘Sir Galahad’ was destroyed during the Falklands War – has endured 70 surgical operations to repair his face and body; whilst becoming an acclaimed motivational speaker, charities’ campaigner, and TV and radio presenter.

He will speak about his life and work at a free public lecture at the University of Derby’s main Kedleston Road site, in Derby, from 1.30pm to 2.30pm on Wednesday November 19. To attend the free talk book online at www.derby.ac.uk/events/inaugural-lecture-simon-weston

The guest lecture is part of a series of free events for the University’s annual Disability History Month, which this year has the theme of War and Impairment – The Social Consequences of Disablement. Other public events – held at the University’s main Kedleston Road site in Derby, unless otherwise stated – will include:

  • Sunday (November 9) – An open mic evening of poetry about disability issues, staged by the University’s Creative Arts Collective Society. At 7pm at Mr Grundy’s Tavern in Ashbourne Road, Derby.
  • Monday (November 10)
  • 12noon – Deputy Vice-Chancellor Professor Rod Dubrow-Marshall officially launches the University’s Disability History Month, in the Atrium of its main Kedleston Road site in Derby. He will be helped by the unveiling of a specially created digital storyboard on disabilities history and a performance by the Royal School for the Deaf signing choir.
  • 1.15pm (and again on the afternoon of Tuesday November 11) – Members of the University’s Creative Arts Collective Society will be making knitted and crocheted poppies, also in the Atrium.
  • Tuesday (November 11), Armistice Day – Public lecture on Shell Shock and The British Army in the First World War, at 11.30am in Lecture Hall OL2, with historian Dr Ian Whitehead.
  • Wednesday (November 12) – Public Lecture on Conflict and the Art of Listening: The Emergence of Music Therapy, from 2.30pm in the Heap Lecture Theatre, with Music Lecturer Matt Le Mere looking at music as a therapeutic tool.
  • Thursday November 13 – I am Still Me, a talk by Christopher D’van-Hilton on living with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). To be held from 1.15pm in Room N512, North Tower.
  • Wednesday November 19 – Guest Lecture by Simon Weston OBE (see details above).
  • From Monday November 24 – Exhibition of students’ disabilities-themed photos and artwork in The Street space, at the University’s Markeaton Street site in Derby. This will be followed, at 1.30pm on Friday November 28, with the announcement of which artists have won prizes in judges’ panel and public votes for best artwork.

Lecturer Jo Bishton, Chair of the Disability Coordinators’ Group at the University and organiser of its Disability History Month, said: “This is the second Disability History Month run by the University and we’ve got an even more packed programme this year.

“We’re very pleased to have attracted major speakers such as Simon Weston, as well as being able to draw on the expertise of our own lecturers, particularly in looking at issues around disability and war. There should be something for everyone among the events and we look forward to welcoming visitors to the University’s sites.”

Free Disability History Month events will also be held on Tuesday November 25, in and around the Devonshire Dome at the University of Derby’s Buxton Campus. These will include:

  • At 10am – Opening of the day’s events by Mike Burrows of charity Combat Stress, set-up to help ex-services personnel deal with mental health issues. On the Dome floor.
  • 10.15am – Talk by Lecturer Tim Heap about his grandfather’s experiences as a tank commander in the First World War and the story of how the tank was unearthed in a French field in 2002. In Dome Room DO/G04.
  • 11am – Mike Burrows will talk about charity Combat Stress and its work with combat veterans. Room DO/G04.
  • 11.30am – Rick Cox, of the Grapevine Wellbeing Centre in Buxton, will talk about its role in supporting those with mental health needs. Room DO/G04.
  • 12noon – Tourism Lecturer Dr Eleni Michopoulou will talk about her research into how holiday providers could make trips and facilities more accessible to people with disabilities. Room DO/G04.
  • 12.50pm – The Kaleidoscope Community Choir will perform popular songs from the First World War period. On the Dome floor.
  • 1.15pm – Yasuhiro Kotera (Academic Lead in Counselling, Psychotherapy and Psychology with University of Derby Online Learning) will talk about his work with PTSD patients. Room DO/G04.
  • 2pm – Roger Fearn, Mental Health Practitioner at the University, will discuss the changing face of mental health support work. Room DO/G04.

Other activities will include arts organisations High Peak Community Arts and Write from the Heart enlisting people’s help to build a ‘remembrance obelisk’. A storyboard will also be unveiled, showing photos and documents relating to the Dome’s history as a hospital and convalescence centre for injured soldiers returning from the First World War.

Throughout the day the Buxton Campus’s Devonshire Dome will host information stands representing organisations such as Disability Derbyshire, Derbyshire Federation for Mental Health, High Peak Access, the University of Derby Students’ Union, the Red Cross, the Samaritans, Help for Heroes, the Royal British Legion and many others.

For further information about the University’s Disability History Month contact organiser Jo Bishton on email:j.bishton@derby.ac.uk