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2014 Elder L.J. 1 (2014)

handle is hein.journals/eldlj2014 and id is 1 raw text is: 







[2014] Eld LJ


I] Obituary


Obituary - Pauline Thompson OBE

Pauline Thompson who died on the 13 January 2014 was a founding member of the
Elder Law Journal's Editorial Board and a long-standing campaigner for the rights of
(amongst very many others) older people.
   Pauline attended Bishopshalt Grammar School in Hillingdon and then read History
at the University of East Anglia, graduating in 1971. Russian studies was a component
of this degree and is early evidence of a wanderlust - that saw her visit many far flung
and often inhospitable corners of the globe. She always travelled with her camera - an
interest and expertise that came from her parents.
   On graduation Pauline moved as a trainee to the newly established Social Services
Department in East Sussex and simultaneously commenced a Diploma course in Social
Work at the University of Kent. In her studies she chose the 'working with older people'
option and so, inevitably, when she qualified East Sussex assigned her to the children's
division.
   Everyone who knew Pauline was struck by her honesty, her integrity and her
willingness to go out on a limb for justice. Shortly after qualifying she laid down an
early marker of this resolution, when she led a campaign on behalf of the parents of
children with severe learning difficulties to prevent the council charging for their care
(children who had previously been cared for in a 'subnormality hospital'). Pauline
represented the parents at a public hearing of the Social Services Committee and
persuaded them to turn down the Director's proposal.
   Having made her mark in the south - Pauline moved north where she worked for
Barnardo's on a special project integrating disabled and non-disabled children through
play, and then moved to Bolton where in 1986 she became the authority's first Welfare
Rights adviser. Pauline fulfilled the same role for Lancashire's Welfare Rights Service
and later as its welfare rights training officer. By this time Pauline had become a leading
expert on the detail of Welfare Rights and advised many national bodies, including the
Association of County Councils at the time of the community care reforms.
   In 1996 Pauline moved to Age Concern (now Age UK) as its policy adviser on
community care finance where she remained until she retired in 2010. On her retirement,
tributes were paid in the House of Lords to her outstanding knowledge and her
enormous contribution to the development of a better social care system. The breadth of
Pauline's campaigning work and her interests is extraordinary. She was a long-standing
and active member of the Law Society Mental Health and Disability Committee. She
wrote extensively, including contributions to the Disability Rights Handbook (Disability
Rights UK) and as a co-author of the Paying for Care Handbook (Child Poverty Action
Group) between 2000 and 2009 and of Community Care and the Law (Legal Action Group,
4th edn 2007, 5th edn 2011)) - as well as being on the editorial boards of the Community
Care Law Reports (Legal Action Group) and this august journal.
   Pauline was a well-respected member of the Stakeholders' Group for the Public
Guardianship Office and later the Office of the Public Guardian, a key activist in the
Making Decisions Alliance (promoting what became the Mental Capacity Act 2005) and
a frequent contributor to BBC Radio 4's Money Box programme - all of which
contributed to her award of an OBE for services to older people. Pauline celebrated her
trip to the Palace with her mother Margaret, sister Pam and brother-in-law John who
survive her. When not campaigning Pauline was singing (perhaps her ultimate passion,
belonging to the Psallite Singers and the Anton Bruckner Choir and a keen participant
in her much loved Italian singing holidays in Umbria) while also managing to fit in a
great deal of travelling, photography, bird watching and being a most wonderful and
generous friend.

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