Valerie Goulding

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Valerie Hamilton, Hon. Lady Goulding (12 September 1918 – 28 July 2003) was an Irish campaigner for disabled people and senator who set up the Central Remedial Clinic in 1951, now the largest organisation in Ireland looking after people with physical disabilities. She served as a member of Seanad Éireann from 1977 to 1981.

Background[edit]

Born Valerie Hamilton Monckton, she was the only daughter of Mary Adelaide Somes Colyer-Ferguson and Sir Walter Monckton (later 1st Viscount Monckton of Brenchley). She was born at Ightham Mote, which was owned by her maternal grandfather, Sir Thomas Colyer-Fergusson, until his death in 1951. Her only brother, Gilbert (1915 - 2006), became a Major-General in the British Army. She was educated at Downe House, near Newbury. Both Valerie and her brother, Gilbert, would ultimately convert to Roman Catholicism.

Her father was a British lawyer and politician, and became chief legal advisor to King Edward VIII during the Abdication Crisis in 1936. She acted as her father's secretary and courier during the crisis, carrying letters between the King and the Prime Minister, Stanley Baldwin.

Career[edit]

In the Second World War, she joined the First Aid Nursing Yeomanry before switching to the Auxiliary Territorial Service. In Dublin for a race meeting in 1939, she met and soon married Irish fertiliser manufacturer and art collector Sir Basil Goulding, 3rd Baronet and moved to Ireland. However, her husband moved to England to join the RAF, ending the war as a wing commander; meanwhile, she served as a second lieutenant in the British Army. After the war, the couple returned to Ireland, where Sir Basil and his family managed Goulding Chemicals.

In 1951, she co-founded, with Kathleen O'Rourke, the Central Remedial Clinic in a couple of rooms in central Dublin, to provide non-residential care for disabled people. The Clinic later moved to a purpose building in Clontarf in 1968.[1] The Clinic's foundation initiated a revolution in the treatment of physical disability and rapidly grew to by far the largest centre dealing with the needs of disabled people. Lady Goulding remained chairman and managing director of the CRC until 1984.

On account of her widespread popularity, in 1977 she was nominated by the Taoiseach, Jack Lynch, to Seanad Éireann, where she worked to raise awareness of disability issues. She sought election to Dáil Éireann twice as a Fianna Fáil candidate, both times unsuccessfully. She was spoken of as a possible President of Ireland in 1983, along with former Nobel and Lenin Peace Prize winner Sean MacBride and former head of the International Olympic Committee Lord Killanin, should the president, Patrick Hillery, decline to seek a second term. (Hillery ultimately was re-elected).

Family[edit]

Lady Goulding died, aged 84, on 28 July 2003, in a nursing home.[2] She was predeceased by her husband, Sir Basil Goulding, in 1982, but survived by her sons, the eldest of whom, Sir William Goulding, known as Lingard Goulding, served as Headmaster of Headfort School in County Meath; the other sons are Hamilton and Timothy of Dr. Strangely Strange.

References[edit]

  1. ^ The Good Samaritans Memoir Of A Biographer' Anthony J. Jordan Westport Books 2008 Pp. 119-128. ISBN 978-0-9524447-5-6
  2. ^ Obituary, The Daily Telegraph, 15 August 2003