Letter: Unhandicapped hero

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The Independent Online
Sir: Bryan Appleyard (13 October) has got it all wrong when he refers to Stephen Hawking's 'appalling physical handicap'. In the introduction to his book, A Brief History of Time, Mr Hawking himself states that he has a physical disability, but does not consider himself handicapped.

It is difficult to envisage anyone with a more profound disability, yet, because his intellectual powers are undiminished, he continues to make a phenomenal contribution to his subject, which is his raison d'etre, hence the averral that he is not handicapped.

Therein lies the heroism and the courage. He is a living example to all those who suffer from physical disability, and it behoves everyone, especially those without disabilities, to appreciate that much can be done to prevent a disability becoming a handicap.

Yours faithfully,



Department of Public Health

The University of Liverpool


13 October