• Categories: 20th Century, 21st Century

Judy Fryd, Harpenden, campaigner and founder of Mencap.

Judy Fryd (31 October 1909 – October 2000) was a British campaigner for mentally handicapped children and the founder of The National Association of Parents of Backward Children, now Mencap.

She was born Caroline Joyce Manning at Hornsey, London. After attending Minchenden School, she studied economics and political science at Ruskin College, Oxford. She married John Fryd and their daughter Felicity was born with a learning disability. Their experiences led her to campaign for better support for such children and their families.

In October 2009 it was announced that she would feature on a new first class Royal Mail postage stamp.
Her obituary in the Guardian describes her as a woman who would “not take no for answer. This was a vital trait for the woman who altered the public’s perception of learning disability. Judy Fryd sowed the seeds of Mencap, now the largest disability organisation in the country.

Although modest in private, in public Fryd was a dynamic campaigner for children and adults with learning disabilities – people considered 50 years ago as “backward”. Today, a person with a learning disability serves on the recently formed Disability Rights Commission and many of those previously in long-stay “sub-normality” hospitals now live independently.”


Her daughter Linda says:

‘Judy was the original Founder of what is now known as Mencap, and worked hard for the rest of her life to assist in the development the work of the Society towards what it is today – a massively important and campaigning organisation for the protection and advance of people with a learning disability – including the mentally disabled – and a vehicle for their parents and siblings to get their voices heard, and bring about the changes so necessary for their inclusion in today’s world.’