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A tribute to Michael Shamash

18 October 2021

Shaping Our Lives members are extremely sad and feeling an enormous sense of loss at the sudden death of Michael Shamash who had been one of our National User Group members and then a Director for the last four years. We wanted to share with you some of our thoughts and memories of someone who brought humour, insight and dignity to our work. We also include an article about Michael’s passion about image and fashion explaining his perspective of being differently abled.

“I always found his comments on issues enjoyable and different; and he linked government to Disabled People unlike Boris and was very clear on what our job is with regard to this. Michael, thank you RIP. Love to wife & kids and Michael’s whole family.”

“This is very sad news. Michael was such a positive person.”

“I had the same thoughts, we have worked with some wonderful people, too many no longer with us. I feel it is a measure of them and how we seek to work together that they all feel like friends as well as colleagues. And I still often think of all of them.”

“Very sad to hear this. I knew of Michael’s work in the disability field before he was involved with Shaping Our Lives, if I remember rightly, he was involved in some of the earliest work on disability hate crime in east London. It was good to have the chance to work with him. Also giving some thought today to some of the others Shaping Our Lives has lost over the years – Patricia, Munir, and Clare Evans and Robert Droy from the early days. Like Michael, they all brought such a lot to Shaping Our Lives and the work they were involved in locally, they are really missed.”

“Deeply, deeply sad. Lost for words. Michael, will be missed by everyone he touched.”

“We are so sorry to hear that Michael has passed away. We are lost for words right now. He was fun to work with, always cheerful, smiling, talking to people and just being friendly to people around him. Send our sympathies to his family. He was a very nice guy. It’s so sad.”

‘I decided to take part in the Royal College of Physicians’ project because I have always been interested in how we think about images of the body and the disabled person. The ‘differently able’ person is a constant, continuously illuminating our awareness of how the concept of disability is constructed. As a person of restricted growth, I am aware of how so much of society’s perceptions of those who are viewed as different are formed by prejudice and stereotype. I challenge those myths in my current job increasing service user participation in the East End of London. I have written about disability and its representation for a wide variety of journals specialising in the subject of disability, fashion and image. I lecture on the role that the disabled person plays in society at Middlesex University. This discussion shows both how much has changed and yet how much remains the same.’ Michael Shamash on being ‘differently abled’, 14 July 2005