I would like to deal with three, in particular, of the misreportings in Ms Oxford's article, as I would not like them to affect the campaign to persuade Guinness to recognise fully its responsibility to the victims of Thalidomide. First, I did not at any stage mention to your reporter that my own income would increase by pounds 25,000. Second, the proposals would allow for indexation and this is very important because the present Trust is not so linked, despite what Ms Oxford may think. Finally, I did not mention a figure of pounds 50,000 as the amount that would be paid to dependents in the event of a victim's death.
The campaign is for adequate compensation for victims. This compensation should be forthcoming because of the severity of the disabilities and culpability of Distillers (now owned by Guinness plc). I did not plead poverty and therefore Ms Oxford's snide comments about my house (in which I am restricted to the ground floor, being unable to get upstairs), my car (which is leased from Motability), my children and my wife are irrelevant, indefensible and inept. I am surprised your reporter believes my wife should work, despite having four children and a four-limb deficient disabled husband to care for all day and all night.
I would like to issue a challenge to Ms Oxford. If she would be prepared to live my life for just one week, I believe that she would have a far better understanding of the problems faced by disabled people everywhere. I am, however, aware that the sort of person who writes such errant nonsense as she has done is most probably not the sort of person who would want to understand the plight of those less fortunate than herself.
F. G. Astbury
Action Group UK
27 JuneReuse content