Independent on Sunday's Happy List 2014 (NOT the Rich List): Tom Dowling, community journalist
Sunday 25 May 2014
Tom Dowling was 20 when he was shot by armed robbers in 1974 when travelling back from a Mount Everest base camp, severing his spinal cord. He was left paralysed and wheel-chair bound. That did not stop him, however, from pursuing a career in journalism and he has used this to give the disabled a voice through the newspaper he founded and edits, All Together NOW!
Some half a million people now read the 36-page paper, which is published every two months, and distributed free to shops, museums, galleries, garden centres, visitor attractions and hospitals.
"I'm flattered and honoured that somebody has chosen us for this," Mr Dowling said when learning of his Happy List nomination. "What I am particularly pleased about is that the paper is getting recognised. We're delighted."
Dowling had just finished his journalistic training when he suffered his injury. He later became a sub-editor at the Liverpool Echo and started a column in it to address disability issues. This proved a huge success and grew into a regular supplement.
But Tom felt there was more potential. He set up his own publishing business and in 2005 launched All Together NOW! It is registered as a charity and financed through grants and donations, including from Wolverhampton Wanderers football club owner Steve Morgan, and public sector advertising.
The paper is filled with articles for anyone living with disability, long-term health conditions or age related issues. Recent editions included a piece about the difficulties deaf teenagers face at GP surgeries and a two-page Skill Zone featuring articles about the education and employment sectors.
"Newspapers are vital to lots of people, particularly for elderly and disabled people who don't have access to the internet," Mr Dowling said. "Most of our readers rely on them to give them their information and opportunities that they wouldn't get in any other paper."
Read more - Independent on Sunday's Happy List 2014
The full list of people who make life better for others
Nikandre Kopcke, social entrepreneur
Carmel Allen and Josephine Drew, charity founders
Robert Williams, kindness giver
Dolly Saville, legendary barmaid
Martin Griffiths, surgeon/lecturer
Jean Bishop, buzzing fundraiser
Aneeta Prem, anti-slavery campaigner
Finally ... 10 household names who went the extra mile
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- 2 PornHub turns masturbation into energy in bid to save the planet
- 3 Robert Mugabe eats a zoo for 'obscene' 91st birthday party
- 4 The remarkable archaeological underwater discovery that could open up a new chapter in the study of European and British prehistory
- 5 The jihadi girls who went to Syria weren't just radicalised by Isis — they were groomed
End of the licence fee: BBC to back radical overhaul of how Corporation is funded
Stephen Hawking's wife Jane Wilde on their marriage breakdown: 'The family were left behind'
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PornHub turns masturbation into energy in bid to save the planet
With money, corruption and drugs, this monk fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’
New theory could prove how life began and disprove God
This is what it's like to be dead, according to a guy who died for a bit
'Jihadi John': CAGE representative storms off Sky News accusing Kay Burley of Islamophobia
Ukip would cut billions from Scottish budget to fund English tax cuts
Russia's roadmap for annexing eastern Ukraine 'leaked from Vladimir Putin's office'
Ukraine crisis: Top Chinese diplomat backs Putin and says West should 'abandon zero-sum mentality'
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