60 Stories: Featuring in The Sunday Times

BY: Ciaran Willis


In June 1963, soon after we started, The Sunday Times wrote a feature article about our charity.

At the time, we were hardly a charity at all, but simply a small group of people, which included five mothers of children with learning disabilities.

The author writes of The Paddington and St Marylebone Society for Mentally Handicapped Children, as we were called at the time: “Their special aim is to help parents as well as the children and to start a nursery school with specialised teachers”.

“Though they have been going less than a year, already a great deal has been achieved. The members draw strength simply from meeting each other and being able to talk over their problems together.”

The child in the pictures, who is not named, is Steven Mullins, with his mother Vi Mullins, one of the women who founded our charity.

Mother and son

The article was a breakthrough and brought in much-needed support for us, says Shirley Rodwell, one of the founders of our charity, who had contacted The Sunday Times to get the piece published.

We were one of many groups which began in the early 1960s to support children with learning disabilities, as well as their families, as they got little help from the Government.

The author writes about how mothers – for it seems women were assumed to take all the responsibility for caring back then – struggled with the stress of looking after children with learning disabilities and had little support.

Please note: The article represents the views towards people with learning disabilities and autism in the 1960s. We do not agree with the terms used and would not use them today. But it is important to show how people were treated and talked about back then.

We are writing 60 stories across social media this year to celebrate LDN London’s 60th anniversary.

Please consider helping us continue our work for another 60 years: https://www.justgiving.com/wspld.


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