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Lucy Watts: Tributes To Essex’s ‘Champion’ Disability Activist

May 2, 2023

    Charities have paid tribute to an award-winning disability activist who has died aged 29.

    Lucy Watts, MBE, who lived with her mother in Thundersley, Essex, sat on multiple NHS care committees and ran her own company for patient advocacy.

    Her family said she died on Wednesday morning at Southend Hospital.

    Toby Porter, chief executive at Hospice UK – a charity Ms Watts worked alongside – said she was “remarkable”.

    “[She was] a true champion for hospice care and the rights of people living with disabilities and complex health conditions,” said Mr Porter.

    “Lucy was for many years one of the clearest, most articulate and compelling voices across our entire palliative care community.”

    Ms Watts was born with a life-limiting condition which included multiple organ failure and restrictive lung disease that eventually needed 24-hour care.


    She attended the King John School in Thundersley and at 22 years old was appointed MBE for services to young people with disabilities.

    She founded a stakeholder group in 2017 for people receiving palliative care – Palliative Care Voices – and in 2018 she set up her own advocacy company, Lucy Watts Ltd.

    In 2019, she was named the ninth most-influential person in the UK in the Shaw Trust Disability Power 100 List.

    She repeatedly spoke of the importance of talking openly about dying, and in a blog written in 2020, of which an extract was published by the BBC, she talked about shielding during the pandemic.

    In a post shared on social media, her family said they hoped she was now “with her beloved” support dog, Molly, and grandparents “who adored her”.

    A spokesperson for the Shaw Trust, a charity that advocates for people with disabilities in the workplace, said: “She will be very much missed by the disabled community for her work to effect change nationally and internationally.

    “She leaves a powerful legacy behind – she was the change we all aspire to be.”

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