Banburyshire man writes heart-warming and powerfully positive memoir about living with disability

Watch more of our videos on Shots! 
and live on Freeview channel 276
Visit Shots! now
A Middle Barton man has written a heart-warming and powerfully positive memoir about living well with disabiity.

Richard C Brown MBE, who has Friedreich’s ataxia, says everything he has achieved has been thanks to the love and support of other people.

Disability is Other People: My Superhero Story takes the reader on Richard’s journey – a quest for identity and meaning in a world that has variously labelled him as a superhero and an outsider.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

It is described as a memoir for anyone feeling alone and scared and for people coming to terms with a new and frightening condition. Richard Brown recalls embarking on a quest for identity and meaning in a world that labelled him by his condition.

He shares everything he has learned through his triumphs and mistakes in coming to terms with being disabled. He deconstructs traditional perspectives on disability and draws out the links to other oppressed communities struggling for equality.

Richard was 14, growing up in Barford St Michael and a pupil at Blessed George Napier School, Banbury when he was diagnosed with Friedreich’s ataxia, a progressive and incurable neurological condition.

Devastated, he dropped out of school and soon began his exceptional journey, studying, living and working in America, Oxford and Birmingham before his early retirement and return to Oxfordshire.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

He was awarded an MBE for services to Disability and to his Community in the New Year’s Honours list 2021 and has been nominated for inclusion on Shaw Trust’s Disability Power 100 list 2024 (the UK’s 100 most influential Disabled People).

Richard Brown MBE, whose memoir shows how we can make the world a better placeRichard Brown MBE, whose memoir shows how we can make the world a better place
Richard Brown MBE, whose memoir shows how we can make the world a better place

In his book, father of two Brown, 48, shows how the attitudes and behaviours of ‘other people’ are the main disabling forces in life and considers some of the big issues he has faced along the way - hope, death, ableism, social media and political correctness.

There are chapters covering his diagnosis, dropping out of school, travelling, falling in love, marrying and having a family, being forced to retire, volunteering and becoming an activist.

It is not until he retires that he realises volunteering and getting to know other people are also core values. He shows how people can make the world a better place and offers his own advice on how to live with disability. As an MBE, enduring 14 years of austerity and the trauma of the pandemic sharpen his newly-found activism, and he finds himself wondering whether he does have superpowers after all.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

“After all that, I discovered that the real meaning of life is simply live in the present, always buy a ticket and share your happiness with (carefully selected) other people,” he said.

Richard Brown MBE has published a memoir, described as heart-warming and powerfully positiveRichard Brown MBE has published a memoir, described as heart-warming and powerfully positive
Richard Brown MBE has published a memoir, described as heart-warming and powerfully positive

Richard Brown’s remarkable story of self-discovery, luck, resilience, and love is published by Troubador on July 28 and is available to preorder. It contains fifteen photographs showing the author at key moments in his life.

While it will be of huge interest to other disabled people, Richard believes it will have a wider appeal for the curious, people coming to terms with a disability or even social studies students.

He has created an iTunes playlist to accompany the book. Its tracks range from The Beatles to Kermit,and from Blur to The Cars. It can be found here.

Richard’s blog can be found here www.worldaccordingtome.blog

Related topics: