Story 54

The heart and soul will never change

I first heard about Leonard Cheshire through a job agency when I asked about work that would make a difference to people’s lives.

Lonzsa Knight

I didn’t have a background in campaigning, which I love, so I started off on reception in our Head Office in Millbank. I was subsequently asked by one of the directors to apply to be her PA. This meant I would be working in Corporate Affairs where campaigning happened.

It was fantastic to work with John Knight, who set up our first campaigning team. He built the team up from one person to a whole directorate of people. Whilst working as his PA, I was so impressed by the local campaigns team, who helped the people who use our services to campaign for themselves and create changes in their local community. It could be anything from making a train station accessible, to getting access to inaccessible beauty spots, to making bridges wheelchair-friendly. I have worked with people who have had great passion and vision for the people we work for.

The things I have enjoyed over the years are many but here are a few: Of course I have enjoyed my PA work and I am still in touch with many of my former directors, but you can’t beat doing something more hands-on. I loved taking some of the people who use our services to parliament to meet face-to-face with the Minister for Disability. There they were able to put across their views and relate their first-hand experiences. They felt it gave them a voice. I’ve also enjoyed taking part in fundraising activities. I did a skydive from 13,000 feet and I abseiled off several buildings in London to raise funds.

I have worked with some amazing people over the years; people who have a real passion for supporting disabled people to get the best out of their lives. I truly hope that the organisation will continue to move forward whilst holding on tight to Leonard Cheshire’s vision. He was an amazing man who would definitely have moved the organisation forward, but the heart and soul of it would never have changed.

I have worked with some amazing people over the years; people who have a real passion for supporting disabled people to get the best out of their lives.