Bert Massie

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Sir Bert Massie

Chairman of the Disability Rights Commission
In office
Personal details
Herbert William Massie

(1949-03-31)31 March 1949
Liverpool, England
Died15 October 2017(2017-10-15) (aged 68)
EducationSandfield Park Special School
Hereward College
Alma materLiverpool Polytechnic
Manchester Polytechnic

Sir Herbert William Massie, CBE, DL, FRSA (31 March 1949 – 15 October 2017), known as Bert Massie, was a British disability rights campaigner.[1] He served as Chairman of the Disability Rights Commission from 2000 to 2007, and was a founding Commissioner of its successor the Equality and Human Rights Commission.

Early life[edit]

Massie was born in Liverpool,[2] on 31 March 1949 to Herbert Douglas Massie and Lucy Joan Massie.[1]

He contracted polio in 1949 and spent his first five years receiving care at Liverpool's Alder Hey Children's Hospital. He moved to the Children's School of Rest and Recovery at the age of five and to Sandfield Park Special School at the age of eleven. As disabled students were not expected to study for O-levels, he left school with no qualifications.[2]

After leaving school, he began working for the Liverpool Association for the Disabled. While there he decided to study O-levels and as no evening classes were accessible to a wheelchair user, he received tuition from nuns at a local convent.[2] He then left his job to study for A-levels at Hereward College, a special needs college in Coventry, West Midlands.[1]

He graduated from Liverpool Polytechnic in 1977 with a Bachelor of Arts (BA).[3] He then attended Manchester Polytechnic completing a Certificate of Qualification in Social Work (CQSW).[1]


In 1978, Massie joined the Royal Association for Disability and Rehabilitation. He was its Director from 1990 to 1999.[4] He served as Chairman of the Disability Rights Commission from 2000 to 2007. He was a founding Commissioner of its successor the Equality and Human Rights Commission.[5] He was a governor of Motability, a British car scheme for disabled people.[6][7]

Personal life[edit]

In 2007, Massie married Maureen Lilian Shaw.[8]

Massie died on 15 October 2017, aged 68.[9] He had had cancer.[10]


Massie was appointed Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in the 1984 Queen's Birthday Honours.[11] He was promoted to Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in the 2000 New Year Honours 'for services to The National Disability Council and the Royal Association for Disability and Rehabilitation'.[12] It was announced in the 2007 New Year Honours that he was to be made a Knight Bachelor 'for services to Disabled People'.[13] On 4 May 2007, he was knighted at Buckingham Palace by Charles, Prince of Wales.[14] In April 2014, he was commissioned a Deputy Lieutenant to the Lord Lieutenant of Merseyside.[15]

He was made an honorary Doctor of Laws (LL.D) by the University of Bristol on 14 July 2005.[2] In 2008, he was made a Freeman of the City of London and became a member of the Worshipful Company of Wheelwrights.[16]


  1. ^ a b c d "MASSIE, Sir Herbert William". Who's Who 2013. A & C Black. November 2012. Retrieved 29 June 2013.
  2. ^ a b c d Ward, Linda (14 July 2005). "Herbert William Massie CBE – Doctor of Laws". Retrieved 29 June 2013.
  3. ^ "Our Patron: Sir Bert Massie". Heswall Disabled Children's Holiday Fund. Archived from the original on 7 August 2013. Retrieved 29 June 2013.
  4. ^ "Bert Massey CBE – Winner 2001". The Worshipful Company of Wheelwrights. Archived from the original on 2 July 2013. Retrieved 2 July 2013.
  5. ^ "Chairman – Sir Bert Massie CBE". CECOPS. Retrieved 29 June 2013.
  6. ^ "Sir Bert Massie CBE". Independent Academic Research Studies. Retrieved 24 February 2014.
  7. ^ "Patrons and Governors". Motability. Archived from the original on 2 March 2014. Retrieved 24 February 2014.
  8. ^ 'MASSIE, Sir Herbert William, (Sir Bert)', Who's Who 2017, A & C Black, an imprint of Bloomsbury Publishing plc, 2017; online edn, Oxford University Press, 2016; online edn, Nov 2016 accessed 16 Oct 2017
  9. ^ Ricketts, Andy (16 October 2017). "Disability campaigner Sir Bert Massie dies aged 68". Third Sector. Retrieved 16 October 2017.
  10. ^ Brindle, David (25 October 2017). "Sir Bert Massie obituary". The Guardian. Retrieved 2 November 2017.
  11. ^ "No. 49768". The London Gazette (Supplement). 16 June 1984. pp. 9–11.
  12. ^ "No. 55710". The London Gazette (Supplement). 31 December 1999. pp. 9–10.
  13. ^ "No. 58196". The London Gazette (Supplement). 30 December 2006. p. 1.
  14. ^ "No. 58424". The London Gazette. 17 August 2007. p. 12004.
  15. ^ "No. 60855". The London Gazette. 1 May 2014. p. 8722.
  16. ^ "Sir Bert Massie, CBE". People of Today Online. Debrett's. Retrieved 2 July 2013.