It is with deep sadness that Mencap has received news from the family of Lord Brian Rix CBE, DL that he passed away during the morning of 20th August 2016 at the age of 92.
Lord Rix played a central role in the history of the Royal Mencap Society, performing the roles of Secretary General, Chairman and later President of Mencap. He campaigned tirelessly throughout his life and into his 90s to make the world a better place for people with a learning disability.
For a timeline of his achievements and details of his vast contribution to Mencap and to the wider learning disability movement, please refer to our website.
For people wishing to donate in memory of Lord Rix a donate page has been set up here.
Jan Tregelles, chief executive of the learning disability charity Mencap, said:
“We are deeply saddened to hear of Lord Brian Rix’s death. The thoughts of everyone in the Mencap movement go out to his family at this very difficult time.
“Lord Rix was a beloved colleague and friend to so many people with a learning disability and their families. His passion, zeal and humour will be sorely missed. His tireless campaigning has perhaps done more to improve the lives of people with a learning disability than any other.
“When Lord Rix’s daughter, Shelley, was born with a learning disability he and his wife Elspet were told to put her away, and forget about her. This started a quest lasting over 60 years to make the world a better place for all those with a learning disability.
“He has played a central role in many of the landmark moments for people with a learning disability in recent decades, working as Secretary General, Chairman and later President of Mencap and also in the House of Lords where he worked tirelessly into his 90s.
“His unique charm, personality and passion have been invaluable in helping Mencap grow into the UK ‘s leading learning disability charity, and with his passing the charity has lost a very dear friend.
“Lord Rix made a real difference but there is still so much more to be done. We will not stop until people with a learning disability are valued equally, listened to and fully included in our society. That would be the most fitting tribute that we could pay to such an extraordinary man.”
Derek Lewis, Chair of Mencap, said:
“The trustees of Royal Mencap Society were deeply saddened to hear of the death of our President, Lord Rix, and, together with the wider Mencap network, extend their sympathy to his family. Those with learning disabilities, their families and all involved in their support owe an immense debt to Lord Rix for his lifelong commitment to eliminating discrimination and achieving equality of opportunity.
“Through his leadership of Mencap over many decades as Secretary General, Chairman and President and through his tireless campaigning he brought about vastly improved life opportunities for those with learning disabilities compared with the situation when his daughter was born with Down’s Syndrome. He will be greatly missed but his extraordinary achievements leave us all with the inspiration to continue his vital work.”