A message from Council Leader, Cllr Stephen Cowan
At 4.13am this morning, I received a text to say that Debbie Domb had died peacefully in her sleep surrounded by her family and friends. She was 60-years-old. The flags at Hammersmith Town Hall fly at half-mast in honour of all she did to change things for the better for Disabled people both in Hammersmith & Fulham and across our country.
Debbie Domb was a lecturer in sociology but had to stop her work in the classroom sometime after she was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 1994. She became a persuasive and highly effective activist and campaigner.
I first met Debbie shortly after I became the borough's leader of the opposition in 2006. She gently sought to educate me on the civil rights issues facing Disabled people and the need for society to change to recognise its responsibility not to disable people by making so many aspects of day-to-day life inaccessible for so many Disabled people.
Along with others in the Hammersmith & Fulham Coalition Against Cuts (HAFCAC), Debbie fought to change public policy: she took part in legal challenges; she made her case in the national press; and she successfully defended vital Disabled peoples' services from cuts.
In 2014, Debbie joined the Council's Health, Inclusion and Social Care Policy and Accountability Committee as a co-opted member where she helped this council be the only one in the country to abolish home care charges and led us to pledge to step in and pay for the services provided by the Independent Living Fund - should the threatened national cuts ever have been actioned.
Debbie Domb was one of the people that played a pivotal role in setting Hammersmith & Fulham on a course to make our borough the most accessible community in the country for Disabled people and she pushed the national debate to a more enlightened position. Debbie was a quiet hero. She stepped up, made her case, fought for change and won. Because of that, thousands of people, who may never know her name, have had their lives made better.
I will always be grateful to Debbie Domb for her friendship, advice and the education she took it upon herself to give me. I know I speak for all who knew her in saying we will miss her but will always proudly and thankfully remember her.
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