Catholic Herald Reporter ARCHBISHOP HEENAN of Westminster has lent his support to a campaign to make public buildings more easily accessible to disabled people.
He has written to priests throughout the Archdiocese suggesting that "new buildings should he planned with the difficulties of handicapped people in mind."
Behind the campaign is Mr. P. H. Bolshaw, the assistant secretary of the Kytes Estate for Disabled Ex-Servicemen, at Garston, Hens. Mr. Bolshaw, who is himself disabled, hopes that the campaign will become nationwide.
Mr. Bolshaw appealed to Archbishop Heenan for help, because, he says "if the leader of the Catholic Church in this country were to set an example by taking up this problem officially, who knows what might come of it in wider fields?"
He told the Archbishop: "In most cases a builder's labourer, with the help of a little wood or cement, and the permission of the parish priest, could easily build a ramp to give access to all types of disabled".
Mr. Bolshaw is a non-Catholic, but regularly attends Mass with his Catholic wife and three children. He has been in a wheelchair for
twenty years, "but", he said. "this dees not stop me leading quite an active life.
The trouble is," he added. "there are so few places where one can go with a wheelchair. One step is as big an obstacle to us as a ten-foot wall is to the average man.
"I know," he said. "of cases where a disabled man has had to go away without attending Church, because no-one has been available to help him. I often feel afraid for some of the people who help me, and whom I know should not be doing it".
On Kytes estate, which Mr. Boleshaw helps to administer, there are over 40 disabled Ex-Servicemen, nearly all of whom lead normal lives and go out to work every day. They too are backing Mr. Bolshaw in his campaign.
• Westminster Cathedral may well be the first to show a lead in this matter. Monsignor Tomlinson, the Cathedral Administrator, told the Ca-moue HERALD : will give my mind to the provision of these facilities. Quite obviously the Cathedral must be in the forefront of such a movement."