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UEL chancellor and disability campaigner Lord Rix dies aged 92

PUBLISHED: 13:07 22 August 2016 | UPDATED: 13:34 22 August 2016

Lord Rix, pictured in 2006, was UEL's chancellor for 14 years. Photo: John Stillwell/PA images

Lord Rix, pictured in 2006, was UEL's chancellor for 14 years. Photo: John Stillwell/PA images

Actor, disability campaigner and UEL chancellor Lord Rix has died at the age of 92.

Lord Rix was a champion of disability rights. Photo Jim James/PA Archive.Lord Rix was a champion of disability rights. Photo Jim James/PA Archive.

The dedicated campaigner for people with learning disabilities – who was also the first Chancellor of the University of East London (UEL) from 1997 to 2012 – had been battling a terminal illness.

Previously an opponent of assisted dying, Lord Rix had more recently changed his mind after being left in “misery, pain and discomfort” throughout his illness.

In addition to being known as a prolific actor under the name of Brian Rix, the theatrical star became a champion of people with learning disabilities after his eldest child and daughter Shelley was born with Down’s syndrome.

He later became chairman and then secretary-general of the learning disability charity Mencap.

It was while working at the organisation’s Stratford office that he became acquainted with UEL.

In 2001, he established the Stratford university’s RIX Centre, which was founded to explore and develop ways of using new technologies to transform and enrich the lives of people with learning disabilities.

The centre of excellence has since supported thousands of people with learning disabilities, their families and their carers.

A spokesman from the university said in a statement that Lord Rix’s “footprints are indelibly impressed on UEL”.

Lord Rix was also knighted in 1986 for his services to charity and spoke regularly in the House of Lords about learning disabilities.

He died on Saturday and is survived by his two sons Jamie and Jonathan, daughter Louisa and grandchildren.


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