Leonard Cheshire was one of the greatest Englishmen — and greatest Catholic converts — of the second half of the 20th century. A fearless RAF bomber pilot who was awarded the VC, highest of all military honours, Group Captain (later Lord) Cheshire went on to found a series of residential homes that now care for 21,000 disabled people. His name lives on in the organisation he founded: the Leonard Cheshire charity.
But not for long, perhaps. A lobby within the charity believes that "the Leonard Cheshire name can be a barrier to achieving the organisation's goals". So there are plans to shrink it to small print underneath some ghastly, politically correct new title such as eQual UK (sic). Why? Because, apparently, there is insufficient "recognition" of Leonard Cheshire among the young.
The great man himself might not have minded: he was a gentleman of the old school and beguilingly modest. But we mind, and so should anyone who cares about our humanitarian heritage. If the story of how a war hero embraced the very different heroism of caring for the disabled has been forgotten, that is the fault of the charity; it should remedy the situation by shouting the name of Leonard Cheshire VC OM from the rooftops, not by capitulating to ignorance.
This proposal is a disgrace. We urge all our readers to make their views clear by writing to the Leonard Cheshire central office at 30 Mil!bank, London SW IP 4QD or telephoning 020 7802 8200.