This Tributes page is designed to complement the dignified, permanent and lasting Thalidomide Memorial located at Alexandra Gardens, Cathays Park, Cardiff.

The purpose of this page is to remember and honour:

All those persons and their families who have been, and continue to be affected by the Thalidomide tragedy;

the memory of the children who did not survive to enjoy a full and rewarding life;

the memory of parents and loved ones who gave so much in the care of their children;

all who worked so tirelessly in helping and supporting those who sought justice from this episode in history.


The Tributes posted here are from family and friends, who wish to share thoughts, memories, dedications and photographs for all to see.

We ask that you respect the Tributes which are left, and the memory of those to whom the tributes relate.

If you would like to add a Tribute, simply go to the Contact page, and complete all the required fields.

To remember my wonderful Mum and Best Friend - Mena Moriarty

Taken too soon, and missed every day. Thank you for all your sacrifices and love. You are my guardian angel, and I am proud to be your daughter and to have shared 31 years of your all too short life with you.

To my darling, exceptional husband (also Thalidomide impaired) and our adored, cherished son. Thank you for your unconditional love, daily laughs and absolute support.

To my amazing family (those still with me, and those now gone but who still watch over me). Thank you for always believing in me and supporting me throughout all of my endeavours.

To my Thalidomide friends – my brothers and sisters in our unique family. Your lives will be forever remembered and cherished. Your struggles and torments are recognised and understood. Your vast achievements are renowned, applauded and enshrined.

With love always.

Rosie. xxx

Rosaleen Moriarty-Simmonds OBE - Lead Campaigner for the Thalidomide Memorial
Cyncoed, Cardiff, United Kingdom

Heidi Thomas McGann, Call The Midwife Writer, Pays Tribute

I am of exactly the same age and generation as the people who were injured by the drug Thalidomide. Throughout my life I have been awed and inspired by their achievements, and moved and angered by their fight. They must not be forgotten, and I am delighted to give my support to this beautiful and very necessary Memorial.

Heidi Thomas McGann - Writer and co-producer of Call the Midwife
Liverpool, Merseyside, United Kingdom

Thank You

It was a privilege to have attended the memorial service being a friend of Rosie, Steve and James for many years. They never fail to amaze me of their energy and passion to continue to campaign for the rights of disabled people. Not only that they are amazing friends and our family love them dearly thank you again. Tina and Mike xxx

Tina Donovan - Friend
Cardiff, Uk, Wales

Robert Moreton my friend

Robert I remember you and your dad coming to our house as your dad wanted you to attend the same 6th form as me. I was so pleased you did because our friendship grew closer even though we went to the same hospital in our childhood days. We were protective of each other but it did not stop us growing in confidence. The day I found out you had left us at such a young age I felt cheated of a dear friend and our Thalidomide family had lost a real character. Until we meet again Rob sleep tight.

Katrina Gardner
HULL, East Yorkshire, England

Rest in peace Boulos Paul Haddad

You were a bridge builder, a communicator, a friend, a wonderful son and brother. We will always miss you Paul.

Susan Wagner-White
Perth, Ontario, Canada

For those friends and family I have lost.

I am from Scotland originally and one of only 2 Thalidomiders out of 10 to be born in the hospital I was born in to survive.

To my Mother, who took Thalidomide to help her sleep as she had Bipolar, sadly she died at the age of 63, far too young in my opinion, we didn't always get on, but that never stopped me loving her with every inch of my being. My adopted Dad who died at the age of 53, he was my Mum's 2nd husband and brought me up from the age of 5. My biological Father who died at the age of 88, I miss them all every single day.

The many many Thalidomiders over the years that I have known personally and loved, you are remembered with great affection and many happy memories which I will always cherish. May you all rest in peace and be free of pain for all eternity xx

Hazel Simmons
Hastings, East Sussex, England

To My Mum and Dad, My Siblings and My Thalidomide family

My Dad, Earl passed away in 2009. He and my Mum, Ann were were among the many parents who fought the battle for compensation, ensuring we received the best we could get, asking nothing for themselves. My parents and siblings have stood by me through a lifetime of living with my disability, providing encouragement and determination to plow through obstacles and to live life to the fullest. I love and honour you all.

I honour and remember my fellow Thalidomide friends who are no longer with us, especially my school friend Bev Rastin, and my friend Paul Haddad here in Canada.

To my fellow Thalidomide family who are still here and who continue to live your lives with strength and dignity, you inspire and strengthen me.

Suzanne Hernandez - Website Developer and Designer
Bolton, Ontario, Canada

Thank You...

As a Canadian Thalidomider, I feel blessed to know the members of TVAC, our association in Canada.

We are talented, strong, vivacious and unique individuals and do not consider ourselves victims but survivors with a passion to create wonderful, fulfilling lives.

Thank you for the beautiful Memorial; it shows that our lives are valuable.

Dena Sykes
Cochrane, Alberta, Canada

To all who fought . . .

To the world you were one,

To the one you were the world!

David Bickers - I.T. Consultant
Romford, Essex, UK

Rob Moreton

For rescuing me when I had all but given up, for all the joys and love we shared, for giving me a wonderful daughter who seems to grow more and more like you each day, and for all the years we spent together, even though they ended far too soon, I shall always love you. Xxx

Donna Linnell (previously Moreton)
Hull, East Yorkshire, England

From Martin

It was my privilege to serve the Thalidomide Trust as Director from 2000 to 2014. I can firmly say this was the best job of my very variegated life (even more than flying bombers or living in beautiful Oslo). My life has been greatly enhanced by meeting and getting to know over 500 British thalidomiders, and many more from other countries. I know and have known people of such capacity and strength of character, who have mostly overcome the extreme disadvantages inflicted by Thalidomide, and this certainly changed my view of the wider world in many ways.

I guess my role is now as one of the “tellers of the story”, as the sense I had of a great injustice having taken place has never left me. I formed this view in my first few days on the road, visiting beneficiaries in their own homes. This drives me, to do what I can with the talents I have, to get the story out and help justice to be done.


Adele Matthews (nee Greenaway)

Adele Matthews (nee Greenaway)

Adele created more than a few problems for the Thalidomide Trust, the British Government, various medical experts, the American authorities – you name it, she challenged it in her determination to live life on her own terms: and is still the only UK thalidomider to defeat the British government in the European court of Human Rights.

This photograph shows her with her second husband, at her home in St Petersburg Florida, and nearly four years later, her funeral took place in February 2012. I admired her guts and her intelligence, even while she did her darndest to find any loopholes in the Trust systems!

Martin Johnson

MARTIN JOHNSON - Former Director of the Thalidomide Trust 2000 to 2014

Davy Loughran

Davy was a good friend to many, and very kind hearted. In this photograph he is at his home near Atlanta with his wife, and wearing an experimental set of prosthetic arms in 2005. It was our privilege in the Thalidomide Trust to support him in his endeavours to live the best life he could, even if figuring out what he was planning to do next set up some high-order intellectual challenges! His company was always enjoyable, it was a pleasure to support him however we could.

We were all bereft when he lost his final battle and died much younger than he should.

Martin Johnson

Former Director of the Thalidomide Trust 2000 to 2014

MARTIN JOHNSON - Former Director of the Thalidomide Trust 2000 to 2014

Norman Townsley

Norman grew up in a family of travellers, near Glasgow, and for many years the Trust staff were deeply concerned about his wellbeing. Fortunately, he was able later on to break away, and he made his own home far away in the Scottish Highlands. He made some very good friends, and became quite enterprising. I found him to be a kind and friendly person, and enjoyed our contacts, even though he was reluctant to engage with the wider Thalidomide community. Sadly, Thalidomide-related health problems led to his sudden death in 2007.

Martin Johnson

Former Director of the Thalidomide Trust 2000 to 2014

MARTIN JOHNSON - Former Director of the Thalidomide Trust 2000 to 2014

Julie Merritt

I used to associate the Welsh valley town of Treorchy with its male voice choir, but now for me it will always be as the home of Julie Merritt. During the five years I knew her I saw the way she cared for her family and friends, and how much she and her husband loved their many pets. She decided during that time to holiday abroad for the first time in her life, and enjoyed a few cruise holidays when she always treated some of those closest to her to a lavish holiday too. When she died unexpectedly in January 2006, we learnt of many other people she had helped out over the years. Her reputation for being “loud” concealed a kind and caring heart.

MARTIN JOHNSON - Former Director of the Thalidomide Trust 2000 to 2014

Robert Carruthers

Robert had probably the most difficult upbringing to contend with of anyone I have known, and I learnt that his life had been very scarred by childhood abuse from someone very close. He spent several years living the life of a homeless man in London, with all the degradation that involves on top of coping with his thalidomide disabilities. When I knew him, he was trying to get his life back together, and he lived in a hostel in Pimlico. He was keen to learn more about the wider Thalidomide community, and some may remember him attending the first NAC conference in Belfast, which he greatly enjoyed. We discussed his finances, as despite his lifestyle of apparent poverty, he had reserved a large amount of money in his Trust account. He told me that if he died, he wanted it to be left in the fund, for the benefit of the other beneficiaries. He also told me that he had found it in his heart to forgive the person who had caused him so much harm.

Not long after that he died, and to my surprise I was told he had named me as his “next of kin”. The Hostel management said it was my responsibility to arrange his funeral, and this led to further surprises. As a Catholic, it seemed, he had been resident in the parish of Westminster Cathedral, and was therefore entitled for his funeral to be held there. The priest I spoke to said they would use the “Holy Souls” side chapel, but when I learnt this was about souls in purgatory, I suggested that he, if anyone, had already “done his time” there and could they perhaps find another location? I was astonished on the day when we found his funeral had been set up in the main nave of this magnificent cathedral. There was good representation from the Thalidomide community. I remember Glenn Harrison, then chair of the NAC attended, and Geoff Adams-Spink, our accomplished speaker and broadcaster delivered the funeral eulogy. The final surprise was when we left the cathedral, and the funeral cortege went out across the front of Buckingham Palace and up the Mall, en route to the crematorium. It seemed that there was a message, this man who had been so ill-treated during his life was being treated like royalty in his death!

MARTIN JOHNSON - Former Director of the Thalidomide Trust 2000 to 2014

Derek Rich

Derek was one of our larger-than-life characters. As a young man he made the move to Bangkok, where he lived for the best part of 30 years. During this time he settled with two - or three? different wives, and had children by all of them. He certainly knew how to navigate his way round that city and culture, despite his severe disabilities. He told me once “Mr Johnson, you know Thalidomide has been the making of me – if it hadn’t been for thalidomide I’d have been a crook like my brothers”. He also said his father had been a driver for the Kray gang.

I don’t know how true all that was, but it certainly sounded plausible. He came up with a novel way of “proving” his existence each year, by emailing us a picture of himself with that day’s paper, just like you see in hostage stories. The expression on his face frightened some of the staff! Sad to know that he finally died.

MARTIN JOHNSON - Former Director of the Thalidomide Trust 2000 to 2014

Andrew McRoberts

Andrew was a calm and dignified man, at the time I knew him coping with weekly dialysis as well as his severe disabilities. By the time he died he had been on a continuous dialysis for more than ten years, probably a UK record. Unfortunately, his thalidomide damage meant that he could not be a subject for a transplant operation. He was cared for by his most devoted wife, and they were very much sustained by their shared faith.

MARTIN JOHNSON - Former Director of the Thalidomide Trust 2000 to 2014

Janette Cooke

Janette was one of the leading lights of the Thalidomide world before her untimely death at the age of 40 following an operation. She had been chair of the Thalidomide Society, an energetic Volunteer Visitor, and one of the stars of “Thalidomide at 40”, the BBC documentary. I shall never forget being dragged onto the dance floor at a VV event, which my family will tell you is very hard to do, by a Janette who wouldn’t take my modest refusal for an answer!

She always missed never being able to hug her own daughter, Kelly-Anne, because of her lack of arms and hands, but was delighted with the role of being a mother, and a wife to Bob. They both missed her terribly, as did many others. The whole community was diminished by her departure. She had the ability to light up a room when she entered, and everyone who knew her will carry fond memories with them.

MARTIN JOHNSON - Former Director of the Thalidomide Trust 2000 to 2014

Tina Gallagher

Tina was a person whose no-nonsense Yorkshire outlook contrasted sharply with her extreme Thalidomide damage. I often tell people of our first meeting, when she told me she was studying Psychology and Sociology because she had decided to catch up on her education, and wanted to do Counselling training. She said “I may not have much, but I’ve got two ears and a mouth, and with those I can help people”. That was the spirit that launched our Volunteer Visitor service a few months later, in which Tina played her part. The next situation was when a reporter from the Daily Mirror called, asking if there was anything happening with the Thalidomide Trust. We had just had Gordon Brown’s reply to John Major’s request for us to have extra funds to make up for the tax that we were having to deduct from payments to beneficiaries – Gordon Brown said, very firmly, no. We needed a beneficiary who was prepared to put their story in the papers, to start the work of overcoming that tax, and Tina was the first to volunteer. Her story was one of the most compelling bits of the feature article that followed, and she became a personal inspiration to our leading campaigners. I also found she was an inspiration for our able-bodied members of staff!

Those of us who knew her can think ourselves privileged to have been her friends, while the Thalidomide community worldwide also stands in her debt, as the Tax campaign was only the launch-pad for the campaigns that sprang up worldwide over the following years.

MARTIN JOHNSON - Former Director of the Thalidomide Trust 2000 to 2014

James Murphy

James coped with both his major thalidomide damage and serious health problems, but this did not deter him from setting up and running an important charity “CABIA” in 2000. “Counselling and Benefits in Action” was the way they set out to help people coping with financial and other hardships in North Lanarkshire, one of Britain’s most deprived areas. He also delighted in becoming a parent, and loved his family life.

Despite being in and out of hospital frequently, and living with severe pain, James also helped the Trust as a Volunteer Visitor, and was very influential with some challenging cases. One of these was a beneficiary who was unable to manage her own affairs, and was being badly failed by the statutory authorities who were supposed to ensure she was properly cared for. Largely as a result of James’ input, she has now been happily situated and looked after for many years past. Thanks for all that help, James.

MARTIN JOHNSON - Former Director of the Thalidomide Trust 2000 to 2014

Ed Sheeran

Ed trained and worked as a doctor, and had a brilliant mind. At one stage, he decided to give up medicine, and move to California to develop his music, hoping to build a career. He got some recordings out, but never really managed to break into the marketplace. It did not help that another Ed Sheeran arrived in the music world, who was much better known! There were some people who bought our Ed Sheeran’s music thinking it was the younger ginger haired Ed’s (ours had dark hair). Sadly, his lifestyle got the better of him, and he died.

He was never less than kind and courteous in his manner. It was a privilege for us to be able to help as best we could – though this did involve a sensation sometimes that we had “stepped through the looking glass”!

MARTIN JOHNSON - Former Director of the Thalidomide Trust 2000 to 2014

Veronica Pakenham

Veronica was a cheerful and resourceful Londoner, who despite her 4-limb damage wanted to travel and see the world. She had enjoyed a trip to Australia some years previously, so we were not at all surprised when she decided to go there on holiday. Several years later we realised she had no plans to return! It turned out she had overstayed her tourist visa, and also faced administrative problems renewing her UK passport when it expired because not long after leaving London, her flat had been burgled and someone had stolen her identity documents. I met her one day in a Sydney suburb, carrying her essential papers in case the Australian Immigration authorities caught up with her. She would probably be there still, had not she had a severe stroke, the result of which was that her situation was forced into the attention of the authorities, who treated her with care and kindness.

She was repatriated to the UK, where she came under the care of an excellent rehabilitation specialist. There was some argument that the Health Authority where she used to live did not consider themselves responsible for funding her care. The Health campaign in 2009 had brought us into contact with many politicians, so we wrote to Andy Burnham, then Secretary of State for Health. He wrote us a nice letter saying he did not have the power to direct Health Authorities what they should do in these circumstances, but funnily enough we got a decision from that particular Health Authority within a few days saying they would fund Veronica’s care. I was able to thank Andy Burnham later on for what he had “not” done. He was also the Secretary of State who oversaw the introduction of the Health Grant for UK Thalidomiders. Veronica enjoyed her last year being well-supported and cared for, but unfortunately her health did not hold out. One of our most memorable people, “no barriers” for her!

MARTIN JOHNSON - Former Director of the Thalidomide Trust 2000 to 2014

Julie Lane

Julie Lane was a woman who wanted to live life to the full, enjoying the company of friends and a glass of beer or two. She was born with a full set of limbs, and minor hand damage but also had bad ear and hearing damage, and relied on powerful hearing aids until the last four or five years of her life when she had no hearing at all. However, from an early age she started having epileptic-type fits ranging up to grand mal in severity. She lost the use of her legs in her early teens, and used a wheelchair from then on. She did her best to enjoy her life to the full, but the fitting problem got worse as she got older. Unfortunately, misdiagnosis of the cause of her fits led to an uphill battle for her and her family to get the proper nursing care she needed.

As she turned forty, she started losing the strength in her arms, and her already-poor eyesight started deteriorating rapidly. In her final year, she estimated that without medication she would have been experiencing 20-30 fits a day. What was worse was that by then she could only communicate by lip reading, at which she was very skilful, except she knew she was going blind. She died at the age of 44. The post mortem examination of her brain showed evidence of major internal damage, which had been there from before birth – thalidomide slowly but surely destroyed her practically from the “inside out” via her nervous system. I never met anyone with more plain courage than Julie, as she faced her remorseless deterioration without bitterness or anger, just regrets for what she had lost.

MARTIN JOHNSON - Former Director of the Thalidomide Trust 2000 to 2014

Oliver McGrath

Ollie was a much-loved figure both in Dungannon where he lived all his life, and in the Northern Irish Thalidomide community. He had no arms or hands, and damage to his eyes. He managed to get himself around the town wherever he wanted to go, and was never known to refuse sweets or cakes. Narrowly escaping a terrorist bomb blast didn’t seem to bother him much. He was much loved by his father, who did everything he could for him. By the time I got to know him, Ollie did have a severe weight problem, and we discussed this from time to time. He told me that exercise was a problem for him, because he couldn’t do push-ups, the one and only time I have heard this particular excuse! Sadly, his heart gave out, but I remember his cheerfulness practically to the end of his days.

MARTIN JOHNSON - Former Director of the Thalidomide Trust 2000 to 2014

Thalidomide Society 50th Year Memory Book

Dedication by Margaret Hogg: March 2013. Our 50th Year. This book is in memory of our family and friends who are no longer with us. We love and miss you all x

Messages inside the book:

In loving memory of Veronica Packenham. Survivor and fighter to the end.

Shaun Bannon “Danny-Bongo” From Micky, Jock, Dave.

With love, wishes and special thoughts to my dear friend Robert Moreton, now in Heaven. Love Katrina.

In memory of Peter John Phillips who died age 22. Rest in peace dear brother. Love always Julie Jean.

Leslie and Patricia Moss. My wonderful parents. Love you Carolyn, Rafa (?), Sheraly and Daisy.

For Pat, Dom, Julie and Debbie Leahe (?). Good times together. Annette and Janis.

Joseph Lawler and Patricia Lawler / Skelton.

Beverley Rastin. Much missed.

In loving memory of Tony Beveridge, died age 10. Why did you have to leave us so young?

Dad, always loved and never forgotten. Fiona.

Patricia McCarthy, Parent of Patricia Sheppard, Much loved Mum and Best friend, sorely missed.

In memory of William (Bill) Higginson, Early member of the Society

Keith Hillier, Father of Mark Thanks


My Dad Gerald McDonnell died Nov. 1969

My Mum Patricia McDonnell died Oct. 2008

Miss and love you forever

Geraldine Freeman

With loving memory of a super man, Ted Freeman, our co-driver at Haighmore, Bill and Margaret Hogg

Elsie Pearse, Thinking of you, Love Richie

In memory of Janette Cook who I shared a room with in Sorrento when we were 16 year. She said she’d never marry or have children! How wrong was she! Lesley Krohn (nee Stephen)

Alec and Margaret Purkis, Alex

In memory of Doreen Bryan, mother of Russell

Mum and Dad, Wishing you were still here to see how well were all doing. Love you loads Janice

In memory of Rosemary Hourie, Russell and Christine

David Pali (Enid Blighton), Have fond memories of holidays with you. Wheelchair races and stunts. Bye my good friend. Always in my thoughts Dave Chapman ps you always used to cheat at Scalextrics

In memory of Mena Moriarty – Died 12/2/1992

Sadly missed by all the family, Thinking of you always, Love always Rosaleen Moriarty-Simmonds and James Moriarty-Simmonds

Died 16/10/12, Ian Millan, past Chairman of the Society

Janette Cook, Beverly Rastin and Robert Morton. Good friends taken too soon. Love always Rosaleen Moriarty-Simmonds

Remembering a much loved father, Joe Bolam, Loved today and always Wendy Stubbings

In memory of Barry Lennon Russell and Christine

Sean Bullock, Will be with you someday RIP J-EM

For my wonderful Step-father, Tim Hawkesworth, Love you lots Pam Tunstall

My thoughts are with you Claire Young (Badger), May you get better soon. Will be waiting for you. Lots of love Chapman

In memory, Sadly missed David Laughran Belfast RIP

Trica Bull (1939-2011) Much loved Mum to Sharron Carter. Miss her loads

Jean Millan died 3/3/92 Wife of Ian Millan

Elaine Gibb who had TAR Syndrome and died at 41 years of age. (She went to Chailley with many of the Thalidomiders and was treated as a Thalidomider by the staff and her Thalidomider friends

For my Dad, Robert (Bob) Collins, Love you lots Pam Tunstall

In loving memory of my school friend Paul Chapman, God bless, Stewart Lee

For Jean Wade who would have loved to have come, Annette and Janis

Fran, Thinking of you today and always Love Janice Lolly

Gary Biddle, Thinking of you today and always, Love and miss you Bro Lots of love Di

In memory of my school friend Ian Walker, Stewart Lee

With fond memories of Janette Cooke, Margaret and Bill Hogg

In loving memory of Adele Greenaway “Undaunted”, You left a hole in my heart.

In fond memory of a beautiful lady Mena Moriarty who made our holidays at Haighmore a pleasure, Margaret and Bill Hogg

In memory of a lovely lady, Margaret Rickard, who was our secretary for a long time, Margaret Hogg

With grateful thanks to Margaret Hogg for collecting the dedications during the 50th Anniversary of the Thalidomide Society, to Dr Ruth Blue for transcribing the dedications and to the Thalidomide Society for allowing us to put the dedications onto the Thalidomide Memorial website.

Thalidomide Society
Bromley, Kent, England

My Wonderful Dad, Ted Freeman

From day one and throughout my life, Dad strove to make me as independent as possible. He battled the education authority so that I could attend mainstream schools. He desperately wanted me to be accepted into the able bodied world and gave me the confidence to get married and have children. But most importantly of all, he was always there for me.

We all miss him so very much. RIP Dad xxxx

Ed Freeman - Chair of the Thalidomide Society
Swindon, Wiltshire, United Kingdom

A gentleman

Stewart Pote 22/02/2017

You left too soon your posts on media sites of your travels with friends and family always cheered me up sorry I did not get to see you one last time. RIP Stew you will be remembered for your smiling face kind nature and fir being one of life's true gentlemen xxx

Katrina Gardner - Mrs
Hull, East Riding of Yorkshire , England

My extended family

Sending my love to us all especially those who have lost ❤

Ruth Daniells
Crediton, Devon, England


To remember Heather Clark …

A friend to many,

An inspiration to all who knew her,

Courageous and dignified.

A shining light, who has left us too soon.

Rosie and Stephen Simmonds

Reginald Braysher

Father to Lorraine Mercer MBE (nee Braysher) passed in 1983 age 51

He was one of the original parents who fought for compensation, although a disfunctional family at times, dad was on our side.

Karen Braysher - Miss
Wivelsfield Green, East Sussex, England

Josh Lindhe

I was proud to call Josh a friend.

I first “met” Josh on Facebook and after talking to him over several months I told him I was coming to NYC with our kids and my brother-in-law. He immediately told me he would come into the city and meet us. We had a lovely day together and I really appreciated the fact he took the time and effort to organise a PA and come along. This is when we also met his friend Bev.

Several months later I was diagnosed with breast cancer and decided to share my journey with others on Facebook – and that’s when Josh told me he had survived breast cancer twice. He not only supported me through having a port-a-cath inserted in my chest, but then also sent a video showing him getting his head shaved in support when I lost my hair to chemo.

When I recovered he sent me a beautiful bell – which he said was my victory bell. Most thoughtful thing I have experienced – but that was Josh.

We travelled again to NYC in 2014 when I finished treatment and again met himself and Bev. We (Eugene, Josh and I) took a photo at the “survivor tree” at Ground Zero and again spent a day making great memories.

In recent times I knew Josh was in hospital and was having health issues, but never imagined that he was so ill. In typical Josh fashion he never said.

Last week we learned that Josh and Bev had died within a very short time of each other – Josh from renal failure and Bev from cancer. I also was sad to learn that there was no service for him or to celebrate his life – instead, his family, who he was estranged from, apparently just had him cremated.

Josh devoted his life to rescuing puppies born with disabilities from certain death. He had set up a team of volunteers across the USA to collect these puppies, and had a network of people who would help nurse them back to health and find forever homes for them. He had 3 little dogs of his own that he loved with all his heart.

Josh should be recognised for the massive heart he had in making sure that these little dogs had happy lives. He touched many – both human and canine – and I, for one, am proud that he gave me his friendship.


Leigh Gath
Pallaskenry, Limerick, Ireland

Missing you

Josh you were an amazing person, you always had my back no matter what, you where always my rock when I needed you but you always knew how to make me laugh. I miss you so much Till we meet again I love you

Heather Kelly-Milling
Stone Mountain, Georgia, United States


Irish Thalidomide Association

Last month, thanks to Leigh and Eugene Gath in Ireland, you added the name of our dear friend Christine Coughlan to the roll call at the Memorial in Cardiff. We are so grateful to Leigh and Eugene for doing this. But Rosaleen a big thank you to you too for following through on the idea of the Memorial.

It is very special and heart breaking too.

Christine’s first anniversary is this week on the 29th July.

Christine came from Ennis, Co. Clare, a beautiful part of Ireland not far from the famous Cliffs of Moher. She was the much loved youngest sister to a large family and an adored Aunt to many nieces and nephews.

Christine has been on the Irish Thalidomide Association journey from the start. I can never remember her missing a meeting or not answering a rallying call to get to Dublin for campaign work at a moment’s notice. And she would be the last one off the dance floor or heading to bed after our great nights together. We miss her humour, her uncanny knack to size people up, her ability to turn the drudgery of the fight for justice into an ‘on the button’ sound bite and nail the analysis of a day with politicians or lawyers. Hilarious. It may sound corny, but she will be the wind beneath our wings as we keep going forward and it helps to have our own guardian angel looking out for us.

Hundreds of people attended her funeral last year over the two day tradition in Ireland of waking people at home and attending the Church. It was a sight to behold the queue of people who waited in line to file past her coffin and show their respect and express their utter sadness at her passing.

Christine had very little time left from when it was realised her cancer was so far advanced. Just a few short weeks where she spent the entire time making sure everyone else was ok. There are no words to express her bravery and optimism to the end. Her whole life was never about Christine – always about others.

I think she would be slightly amused to think she was part of a memorial because, for her, life was most definitely all about living.

Please remember her on Sunday or any day you need a friend.

Finola Cassidy - Spokesperson Irish Thalidomide Association
Dublin, Dublin, Ireland


On the 7th November 2018, Louise, a well-known British born Thalidomider passed away peacefully, with her devoted and loving husband Darren Mansell at her side.

A forthright and determined character, Louise worked tirelessly for her fellow Thalidomide survivors, in an outspoken manner, but always with a passionate heart.

Those who had the pleasure of knowing Louise only partly understood the difficulties she experienced in her lifetime; but recognised her unconditional love of life and the determined way that she approached every project in which she was involved.

A longstanding member of the Thalidomide Society, Louise worked as a Board member for over eight years, during which time she held the role of Chair, and steered the Society through the task of organising the unsurpassed 2012 event. This event marked the passing of 50 years from the withdrawal of Thalidomide from the market but, more importantly, celebrated the remarkable achievements for which Thalidomide impaired people are renowned.

As a committed voluntary worker and tireless charity campaigner, Louise never allowed her prolonged periods of ill-health, to prevent her from championing causes that were close to her heart.

Despite her personal struggles, Louise raised her two children, Emma and Jack, in an independent and fiercely protective way. She married Darren in 2008, and was blessed to spend the last 10 years of her life as the wife of a man, who cherished and cared for Louise, in the most selfless, compassionate and loving manner.

Each and every person who had the pleasure of knowing Louise, was left in no doubt of her powers of persuasion, and her ability to garner support from all walks of life. She counted amongst her supporters, Sir Harold Evans (former Editor of the Sunday Times) and the late Lord Jack Ashley.

In the 1970's, in a Parliamentary debate on Thalidomide, Jack Ashley described Louise as a little girl who would have "No hands to hold, and no legs to dance on". Louise needed neither. Her heart became her hands in which she held those most dear to her; and her indomitable spirit became her legs, that carried her wherever she wanted to go.

We remember Louise ... a Wife, Mum, Grandma, and Friend, who in life strove to find peace and happiness, and who returned those gifts one hundred-fold, and more.

Rosaleen Moriarty-Simmonds
Cardiff, South Glamorgan, Wales

John Hardwick (also known as John Roberts)

John Hardwick 2/9/62 - 28/8/19

John, what can one say about this wonderful rebel without a clue? A very special man, born profoundly deaf as well as other impairments due to Thalidomide. Most people as deaf as John was never learn to speak properly, but due to his Mother's dedication despite what doctors and other professionals said, John did learn to speak very well by feeling the vibrations on his Mum's lips and throat. John was a very talented photographer and really did have a good eye for what makes a great photo, he also painted too. John was a joker and thought he was the best cook in the world, hmmm Tesco's make very good Christmas cakes! LOL , John used to tell us that he made his Christmas cakes with fresh fruit and he used to send these cakes (from Tesco) to various friends for Christmas, he used to buy (or as he said "make") at least a dozen to send out to friends. He was a very generous soul and would help anyone if he possibly could, unfortunately he was also very vulnerable and some people took advantage of that, that always upset me greatly because he could never see it coming. He was a people person and hated being alone. John was also my foster brother, his family took me in when I had no where else to go and I will be forever grateful for that. I could write pages and pages about my "wee bruv" as I used to call him. I loved him like a real brother, he was my foster brother and of course part of our global Thalidomide family. Rest in Peace John, love as always.

Hazel Simmons
Hastings, East Sussex, United Kingdom



Kim Beeston

January 20, 1962 - June 27, 2003

Kirstin Schnickwald

November 6. 1962 - November 13. 2004

Jean-Pierre Peltier

1962 - 2006

Gilles Levesque

1962 - 2008

Claude Brousseau

1962 - 2009

Josee Fortier

1962 - 2012

Dave Renaud

January 08, 1962 - June 16, 2014

Sylvie Roussel

July 14, 1962 - October 15, 2014

Pierre Surprenant

February 15, 1962 - April 21, 2015

Boulos Paul Haddad

May 25, 1964 - February 22, 2016

Julie Anne Brezden

56 years old -- September 15, 2018


Miss Sandra Miller

29 March 1974

Mr Martin Smith

27 November 1974

Miss Anne McKevitt

02 January 1975

Mr Anthony Monaghan

22 July 1975

Mr Christopher Ross

23 October 1978

Miss Gail Benton

06 December 1980

Mr Andrew Line

14 May 1981

Mr David Palij

19 July 1983

Miss Renata Portalska

06 March 1985

Mr Roger Brown

01 March 1987

Mr Paul Chapman

19 December 1989

Mr Valerie McKinlay

01 February 1993

Mr Mark Lambert

11 February 1993

Miss Beverly Rastin

16 March 1994

Mr Barry Lennon

31 August 1994

Miss Bavin Clarke

21 August 1995

Miss Jacqueline Neil

11 February 1996

Mr Martin Matthews

21 December 1996

Miss Tracey Ross

08 February 1998

Mr Terence Everton

09 October 1998

Miss Rosemary Hourie

17 November 1998

Mr Stephen Windsor

22 April 1999

Miss Mary Hurrell

20 July 2000

Mr Robert Moreton

04 November 2000

Mr Stephen Hayfield

14 November 2000

Mr Gary Probert

04 January 2002

Miss Penelope Coulson

28 May 2002

Mr James Broom

17 June 2002

Mr Andrew McRoberts

26 June 2002

Mrs Janette Cooke

09 November 2002

Miss Jane Weston-Smith

13 November 2004

Mr Michael White

30 December 2004

Mrs Fiona Bryant

25 February 2005

Mr Philip Rands

19 March 2005

Mr Norman Townsley

17 July 2005

Mrs Julie Merritt

09 January 2006

Mr Robert Carruthers

18 January 2006

Miss Martina Gallagher

18 February 2006

Miss Julie Lane

20 May 2006

Mr George Webster

26 July 2006

Mr Oliver McGrath

13 April 2007

Mr John Constantino

27 April 2007

Mr William Cameron

07 August 2007

Mr David Loughran

08 June 2008

Miss Vivienne Barry

23 August 2008

Doctor Jim Murphy

16 November 2008

Mr Ian Walker

14 May 2009

Mr James Kirk

14 July 2009

Mr Alan Deegan

07 May 2010

Miss Veronica Pakenham

02 September 2010

Mrs Jean R Neale

24 May 2011

Mrs Adele Matthews

21 January 2012

Miss Sally Gissing

22 April 2012

Mr Shaun Bannon

21 June 2012

Mr Ian Jacks

13 July 2012

Mr John Crome

14 December 2012

Mrs Euphemia (Fay) Carmichael

17 January 2013

Doctor Edmund Sheeran

01 May 2013

Mrs Georgina Anderson

06 May 2013

Mr Stephen Townsend

23 November 2013

Bev Rastin

Derek Rich

Claire Randles

Stewart Pote

David Brewster

Heather Bird

January 21, 1962 - November 13, 2017

 Louise Medus-Mansell

June 23, 1962 - November 7, 2018

Peter Williams

April 25, 1961 - March 15, 2019


Jacinta Bermingham (nee Brennan)

February 3, 2019

(most British info compiled by Laura Beeton)


Nicole Youdale

Lorenzo Dalla Pozza


Norbert Schweyen

Otmar Korte

2 August 2017

Daniela Braun-Poignee

September 5, 2018

Gotthilf Lorch

May 2019


Attanasio Rosario

5 November 2017

United States:

Josh Lindhe


Kjell Carlsson

Rosaleen Moriarty-Simmonds OBE
Cardiff, South Wales, UK


1. Sigrid Venjakob 2015

2. Thomas Thormann 2015

4. Veronica Pa ken ham

􀀁 5. Thomas Martus

6. Jeanette Cooke

7. Ian Walker

8. Oliver Mc Grath

9. Jorg Manthaner 1

10. Jeremy

11. Adele Matthews

12. Mikaela

13. Ann-Marie Aulin

14. Jan Eriksson

15. Monica Johansson

16. Katharina

17. Lasse

18. Henning Rathjens 2014

19. Rita Koch 2014

20. Ingrid Ritzmann 2014

21. Barbara Landgraf 2014

22. Christoph Dammers

23. Derek Rich

24. Dirk Horst

25. Ute Katoll

26. Martin Bloink 2006

27. Rita Kirchhoff 2013

28. Christiane Roch 2000

29. Daniela Bauer

30. Stephan Lorent 2014

31. Dirk Ebener 2014

32. Marion Jakobs 2014

33. Hartmut Renken 2014

4. Andrew Mc Roberts

35. Jesper Ljung

36. Nisse Andersen

37. Peter Ekmann

38. Lars Goran

39. Hans Joachim Schreiner

40. David Loughran

41. Gerhard Schulz

42. Jim Murphy

43. Nicole Youdale

44. Lorenzo Dalha Pozza

45. Tony Beveridge

46. Thomas Boketta

47. Rob Morton

48. Stewart Pote 2017

49. Gerhard Schulz

50. Regine Rautenberg

51. Barry Lennon

53. Jeppe Jung 1981

54. Sigrid Muller 1977

55. David Brewster 2017

56. Martin Saruder 1985

57. Harald Matzkus 1994

58. Silvia Teiwes 1992

59. Franco Zawater 2012

60. Angelika Scheerer 2009

61. Elke Rosenbaum

62. Bettina Meyer 2010

63. Felix Brosins

64. Tina Gallagher

65. Beverly Rasten

66. Killebrand 2017

67. Volker Manegold 1990

68. Klaus Bartheidel 2008

69. Birgit Prange 2007

70. Henrike Schelenz 2016

Thomas Buck

Hechthild Polee

Jrehc Rogg

Rita Horgansterg 2015

Beate Nix

Polra Voke 2012

Kn Kisslen

Paul Haddad 2016

Ralf Volkel 2017

Jritraid Haines

Diethar Barth

Christine Green 2017

Hergith Albert 2017

Claudia Kastner 1985

Martin Spiegelberg

Dirk Ebner 2014

Fregor Fewenkemper

Inge Sieburg 2015

Elisabeth Hammerl

Hansi Kottsch

Bernd Andras 2016

Hans Spichtinger 2011

Heather Clark 2018

Bernd Hansler 2018

Into Binntrock 2018

Bernard Binntrock 2018

Gerlinde Manter 2018

Daniela Braun-Paignee 2018

Goffhief Lorch 2019

Rosaleen Moriarty-Simmonds OBE
Cardiff, South Wales, UK

Gone but never forgotten

If you could please add DAVID THOMPSON, OLIVER McGRATH & DAVID LOUGHRAN all from Northern Ireland please. Thank you

Kim Fenton - Retired

Sir Harold Evans

Thanks to the tireless work of this wonderful journalist who worked for the Sunday Times, he refused to ignore our plight and let the public know of our plight, despite being threatened by the authorities. He truly was our hero and we all owe him a great debt, he will be sadly missed by all who knew him. Rest in peace Sir Harry xx

Hazel Simmons
Hastings, East Sussex, United Kingdom

Sir Harold Evans 1928 - 2020

Harold (Harry) Evans was a British investigative journalist and writer, born and raised from humble beginnings who had an esteemed lifelong journalistic career.

Born into what he describes in his memoir as a “self-conscious respectable working-class family”, Harold Evans failed the 11+, and, like so many of the Thalidomide children that he supported during his tenure as Editor of the Sunday Times, learned the secretarial skills of shorthand and typing before embarking on his career as a journalist.

His editorial career saw him work on publications both in the north of England, in London, and more latterly in America.

However, for many, Harold Evans is synonymous with the Thalidomide scandal of the 1960s and 70s.

In the 1960s, sixty two families took proceedings against the pharmaceutical giant Distillers, which later set the scene for the Sunday Times involvement in 1972. A whole host of legal and moral issues needed the strength of journalistic power and, teaming up with the late Lord Jack Ashley, and the late Lord Alf Morris, he set about challenging the establishment, and the corporate world, in the most public of ways.

Appointing Philip Knightley who was ably supported by Elaine Potter and Marjorie Wallace, the Sunday Times investigative team travelled across the United Kingdom, to highlight the plight of Thalidomide children and their families. What followed was a series of powerful articles which ultimately laid the foundations for a settlement of the Thalidomide case in 1974.

Forthright and charismatic, Harold Evans and his team supported many families through this difficult time, for which those families will always be grateful.

As with so many who were born before the start of the Second World War and found themselves having to make a name in a very uncertain world after the war, Harold Evans was not only hugely influential in the newspaper world, but also in the literary world.

From working on such books as “We learned to Ski” in 1975 through to “Suffer the Children” – the story of Thalidomide - in 1979, Harold Evans continued to write into advancing age, with his last book “My Paper Chase” being published in 2009.

As Thalidomide children grew into adulthood, Harold Evans continued to champion the cause of Thalidomide. In 2012, he attended a Fifty year commemoration of Thalidomide, which took place in London. He joined the late Alf Morris and members of the family of the late Jack Ashley, and Thalidomiders from all over the globe, to honour their lives and achievements.

He counted amongst his friends the rich and famous but never forgot his roots. He was hugely supportive of the ongoing work to ensure the legacy of Thalidomide was not lost in a myriad of dusty history books. His involvement in the Thalidomide scandal may well be considered his defining achievement.

Giving a voice to the unheard was his forte. The honours he received during his lifetime, in recognition of his journalistic work, were richly deserved. For those who knew him – from both near and far – we can be under no illusion that the world of journalism will be a lesser place for his passing.

Harold Evans was renowned for journalistic quotes, but perhaps the one which most sums up his life and work on Thalidomide is this:

“In journalism it is simpler to sound off than it is to find out. It is more elegant to pontificate than it is to sweat.”

Harold Evans did more than simply “sound off” and most certainly did more than “pontificate”. As a result, his contribution (with many others) to the Thalidomide story, will be remembered for many years to come.

Image credit - Time Magazine.

Rosaleen Moriarty-Simmonds OBE
Cardiff, South Glamorgan, Wales

Harold Evans

I was asked by The Guardian to write a short piece in my own words of my meeting with the great Harry Evans. This is my piece:

Darren Mansell - Thalidomider
Kingswinford, W Midlands, UK

Freddie Astbury

Very sad to hear that Freddie died 9th January. Freddie did a lot to help get us UK Thalidomiders more justice from Diageo from the 1990s onwards. He was a character that once met, impossible to forget! ``He is survived by his son Dean. Rest in Peace Freddie xx

Hazel Simmons
Dundee, Perth & Kingross, United Kingdom

In memoriam of Chris Taylor

In memoriam of Chris Taylor Rip ✝️ whom I met at the thalidomide trust meetings in the 1980s. A very friendly, kind lad. May you rest in peace, Chris and condolences to your family and your friends too.

Brian J Surrey - former typist
Winlaton , Tyne and Wear , England

Steve McKay - Life Long Friend

Steve was one of my dearest friends. We were both at Chailey Heritage and he was my first school friend. During the later years at school Steve came to stay at my home for the weekends and along with others we had such fun. We were naughty at times but this made us closer. We were the only two boys to leave school in 1977. The following year we both passed our driving tests and received our first Trust car within a week of each other. We spent the next few years having fun, being mischievous but more than ever enjoying our life and our new found freedom. We then moved on with our lives and although we didnt lose touch life took us in different directions. We got together about 10 years ago when I met his new wife Tracie and Steve's children. It was like we had never been apart.

When Steve got ill there was always a lot of optimism and that was typical of the man and something Ioved about him. We was already to smile and see thr good and funny side of life.

When Steve died I didn't realise he knew how close to dying he was. Another wonderful and brave side to Steve.

I miss Steve an awful lot. I think of the funny, fantastic times we had that have created to many treasured memories.

Until we meet again Steve, God bless and much love, Stew xx

Stewart Lee - Retired
Bridgnorth, Shropshire, England

A dear friend

Freddie Astbury we were at Roehampton hospital together on a few occasions and you always made me laugh you will be missed so much say hello to all our other friends up there sleep peacefully my dear friend xx

Katrina Gardner - Retired
Hull, East Yorkshire , Uk


Freddie was a great character & did so much campaigning for our Thalidomide Community. We will remember Freddie with great affection R.I.P. Freddie. Condolences & Love to his Family & Friends. Marie (nee Lawler) & Richie Pearse ❤️😢 Xx

Marie & Richie Pearse - Retired
Wirral, Merseyside, United Kingdom



You can shed tears that he is gone

Or you can smile because he has lived

You can close your eyes and pray that he will come back

Or you can open your eyes and see all that he has left

Your heart can be empty because you can’t see him

Or you can be full of the friendship that you shared

You can turn your back on tomorrow and live yesterday

Or you can be happy for tomorrow because of yesterday

You can remember him and only that he is gone

Or you can cherish his memory and let it live on

You can cry and close your mind, be empty and turn your back

Or you can do what he would want: smile, open your eyes, love & go on.

Kim Fenton - Tetired
Belfast, Antrim, Northern Ireland


One seed can start a garden

One moment can change a life

One conversation,

Can start a friendship

One step can start a journey

One word can say so much

One smile can brighten a day

One small act of love,

can mean everything to someone

One person can make a difference,

And to me, that person is you.

Kim Fenton - Retired
Belfast, Antrim, Northern Ireland

Remembering Joanna Scott

"Another nurse came in and said - oh ... I don't know how long it was afterwards, it was about ten days ... the baby died. And we're going to bury ... she has been buried." And I said, "What did you call her? What did you call her?" And she said, "Yvonne." And I said, "Yvonne? But to me she was always going to be Joanna!"

That was her name before she was born ... because I thought she'd be a girl for some reason. And they said, "No, we buried her." And I said, "Where?" Believe it or not, the nurse said, "Well, in cases like this, we put them ... in with older, old women who have ... died. And they are put on one side of the churchyard." ... I can hardly believe it but it was true!

... I got home and it was National Baby Week ... the little clothes were there and the cot that I had got second hand was there, and I went upstairs and I just burst into tears."

Text extract:

Rozanne Hawksley talking to Ruth Blue - Secretary for the Thalidomide Society in 2019.

© Thalidomide Society


"The Seven Sorrows of Mary”

© Rozanne (Pibworth) Hawksley


Nicolas Tryon

Nick I remember you with such a smile remembering you on the Trust holidays and you got sand in your hearing aid and a friend tried to get the sand out by blowing in it but we forgot that it was still switched on and attached to you and you nearly jumped out of your skin but we did all laugh about it as that’s the sort of person you were you will be so missed please say hello to all of our thalidomide family up there in heaven and have a ball lots of love KATRINA xxx

Katrina Gardner
Hull, East Riding of Yorkshire , England


It is with great sadness that we record the passing of Dr. Peter Beck who, as HM Lord Lieutenant for South Glamorgan, unveiled the Thalidomide Memorial during the Memorial dedication ceremony on the 30th June 2016.

As Her Majesty’s personal representative for South Glamorgan, Peter’s attendance at the dedication ceremony was one of his last official duties as Lord Lieutenant before retiring on the 4th July 2016.

Peter was a gentle and honourable man, a well respected public servant and an eminent physician.

On his retirement from the Lieutenancy, he was awarded the Royal Victorian Order, to recognise his distinguished personal service to the Monarch.

As a friend and supporter to many, his passing will be felt with sadness by those who had the pleasure to spend time in his company.

Rosaleen Moriarty-Simmonds
Cardiff, South Wales, UK

Beatrice Lilian Freeman 12 April 1924 – 14 August 2022

Mum was the glue that kept our family together and functioning. She was the one that kept our home spotless so that I could roll and shuffle around the floor without the fear of picking up germs. She was cook who would spend hours in the kitchen, making marvellous meals for us and be a little irritated when we polished it of in not time. She was the one that did all the shopping and making sure we all had what we needed. She was the one who bought us our birthday and Christmas presents. She was the one who always made sure we were clean, tidy and well dressed. She was the one who pushed me over a mile to school each day in my wheelchair, then walk back to do the housework and return to pick me up after school. She was the one who made and altered all my clothes, worrying that she was not good enough to do so and yet every item turned out perfect.

Mum was never flamboyant in showing her love for us, but it was there in abundance with everything she did. Mum had a great and often naughty sense of humour, which occasionally raised the odd eyebrow. She always had time to chat with us about our problems and what was happening in our lives, this is what kept her so mentally young and up to date, loving modern music, technology, and current affairs, which as time went by, the grandchildren and the great grandchildren benefited from.

She was and still is, adored by all of us and will always be in our thoughts. Now she can rest, with my dad and brother, patiently waiting to welcome us home.

Ed Freeman - CG Artist
Swindon, Wiltshire, United Kingdom

Anne MacDonald

On 11th January 2023 my lovely friend and fellow Thalidomider Anne MacDonald passed away. We had such fun on the Trust holidays and you always made me laugh you were a gentle kind person and you will be missed. Your brother is with you to hold your hand. My love and healing go out to your dear family. Say hi to all our Thalidomide family up there Anne RIP lovely lady xx

Katrina Gardner - Retired
Hull, East Riding of Yorkshire , England


Peter always remembered and in our hearts. You would be proud of your little baby Lynda all grown up now. Sadly you didn’t get to see her growing up. 🙏🏼

Julie Watkins
Bridgend, Mid Glamorgan , Uk

Dad Tony Phillips

Missed and remembered always.

Parkinson’s disease is such a cruel disease. Thank you for making adapted items along the way for me.

Julie Watkins
Bridgend, Mid Glam, Uk

Claire Elise Freeman

My Beautiful Beloved Claire peacefully passed away at home, on Monday 15 April 2024. She was my Wife, my Best Friend and my Soulmate for eighteen marvellous years. I was so lucky to have found her and so distraught to have lost her. Never once did my disability come into question and she'd tell me she never saw it. Claire gave and taught me so much and was such a major part of my life that I feel a large chunk of me has died too... She had time for everyone and would always try to help others, when needed. Claire leaves behind two daughters and two step sons that she adored and who adored her. Our time together wasn't long enough but I'm so grateful for every second that I had with her. RIP me Babbers, until we can be together again. xxxx

Ed Freeman - CG Artist
Swindon, Wiltshire, United Kingdom