Chrissie Maher

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Chrissie Maher OBE (born 1938) co-founded Plain English Campaign, an organization that promotes the clear use of English, particularly by businesses and official bodies.[1]

Early campaigns[edit]

In 1971 Maher founded the UK's first community newspaper, the Tuebrook Bugle,[2] which gave her the chance to write articles demanding that organisations start using plain English. In 1974 Maher started The Liverpool News,[3] the UK's first newspaper for adults with reading difficulties. She was also a member of the UK's National Consumer Council.

Plain English Campaign[edit]

Maher officially launched Plain English Campaign at a demonstration in London in 1979. In 1994, as an example of the linguistic issues she found objectionable, Maher pointed out that Britain's National Health Service published a definition of the term bed that used 229 words.[2] Tom McArthur, editor of the Oxford Companion to the English Language said, "In all the history of the language, there has never been such a powerful grassroots movement to influence it as the Plain English Campaign."[4]

In 1997, an industrial tribunal found that the Plain English Campaign had constructively dismissed two employees, Martin Nobbs and Jill Cushway, who resigned from the Campaign after unfounded rumors were spread that they had an affair. In their action, Nobbs and Cushway alleged that Maher had started the rumors. Maher denied starting the rumor, calling the tribunal's decision "a miscarriage of justice".[5][6]

Awards & Honours[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Fischer, Steven Roger (2004). A History of Language. Globalities Series. Reaktion Books. p. 193. ISBN 978-1-86189-080-1. 
  2. ^ a b Redmond, Phil (16 July 2010). "Chrissie Maher—a story of inspiration and aspiration". Liverpool Daily Post. Liverpool: Trinity Mirror North West & North Wales. Retrieved 30 September 2010. 
  3. ^ a b c Sanderson, Frank (2010-04-14). Chrissie Maher (Speech). Liverpool, UK. Retrieved 30 September 2010. 
  4. ^ "Plain speaking is no joke". BBC News. BBC. 10 December 1997. Retrieved 30 September 2010. 
  5. ^ Sengupta, Kim (9 November 1997). "How to slag off your old boss, in plain English". The Independent. London: Independent Print. Retrieved 30 September 2010. 
  6. ^ Oldfield, Stephen (4 November 1997). "Plainly speaking, my office affair is just a rumour". The Daily Mail. London. Retrieved 4 October 2010. 
  7. ^ "List of awards". The Herald. Glasgow: Herald & Times Group. 31 December 1993. Retrieved 30 September 2010. 
  8. ^ Sanders, Claire (26 May 1995). "Champion of plain English rewarded with degree". Times Higher Education. London: TSL Education. ISSN 0049-3929. 
  9. ^ Williams, Lynne (1 August 1997). "Honorary degrees". Times Higher Education. London: TSL Education. ISSN 0049-3929. 
  10. ^ "Past Winners". Women in Public Life Awards. Retrieved 2013-02-14. 

External links[edit]