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Baroness Masham, Paralympian And Longest-Serving Female Peer, Dies Aged 87

March 14, 2023

    Baroness Masham, a Paralympian and the longest-serving female member of the House of Lords ever, has died aged 87.

    Lady Masham won medals in swimming and table tennis at the 1960, 1964 and 1968 games and was created a life peer in 1970.

    She spent much of her career campaigning for disability rights.

    The Spinal Injuries Association, which she founded in 1974, said it was “devastated to have lost our greatest champion”.

    She died peacefully in hospital in Northallerton, Yorkshire, on Sunday, it said.

    Lady Masham, born Susan Sinclair, became a wheelchair user after suffering an injury to her spinal cord in a riding accident in 1958.

    Two years later, she won a gold medal in the 25m breaststroke at the Paralympic games in Rome, and in 1964 won another in the women’s doubles table tennis in Tokyo.

    She won a further six silver medals and two bronze across both sports in the three games at which she competed.

    In 1976, she was the subject of an episode of This Is Your Life.

    She sat as a crossbencher and spent a total of 53 years in the House of Lords, more than any other female peer in history.

    She set up the Spinal Injuries Association to address a lack of specialist care or advice available to newly injured people and served as its president until her death.

    The association described Lady Masham as “the reason we have been able to champion, fight, serve and support thousands of spinal cord injured people ever since”.

    “Our condolences go to her family at this sad time,” it said.

    Lady Masham also sat on a number of all party parliamentary groups (APPGs), including those on global tuberculosis, HIV and Aids, and malaria.

    The APPG on global tuberculosis said she had been “one of parliament’s most vociferous champions for disability rights and has worked tirelessly to advocate on behalf of people around the world living with TB and HIV”.

    “Baroness Masham’s remarkable life serves as a testament of her compassion and dedication. She will be greatly missed by all,” it said.

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