Deaf News: BDA honours three people for services to the Deaf community

Posted on August 17, 2016

The British Deaf Association (BDA) has announced that Doug Alker and Liz Scott Gibson have been awarded the 2016 BDA Medal of Honour. Peter Jackson (pictured above with Chair Terry Riley) has also been honoured with a BDA Chair’s Award.

The awards were announced at the BDA 125 Years Congress in Torquay. A video of the awards being announced can be seen on the BDA site.

The BDA said:

DougDoug Alker has been recognised for his tireless campaigning work engaging Deaf people in politics since the 1970s. He really came to prominence in the 1980s when Deaf people were questioning how the power was shared or not as the case may be. He set up the Federation of Deaf People (FDP) in 1997 and led national BSL marches in Westminster from the late 1990s to the early 2000s, pressuring the Government to recognise BSL with a legal status equal to Welsh and Gaelic.

This gradually led to the Government recognising BSL as a language in its own right on 18th March 2003. Doug also inspired Deaf people to participate in the British political system from early 2000s. He is also well remembered for setting up an 1880 debating society, allowing people to express themselves freely on various topics such as education, employment, health and politics.

LizLiz Scott-Gibson has been recognised for her commitment and magnificent advocate leadership in the development of Sign Language and BSL/English interpreting work at the BDA as the first Director in this field. Her wider contributions have led to the setting up of the Scottish Association of Sign Language Interpreters (SASLI), later the European Union of Sign Language Interpreters (EUSLI) and she later became its first President. She was involved in the inauguration of a World Wide Association of Sign Language Interpreters (WASLI) and became their first President too! To this day, Liz continues to do
much voluntary work in the field of interpreting and much of this is concentrated on the developing countries. She gives sterling support to Arab and South American countries with advice and workshops on sign language interpreting.

Terry Riley and Peter JacksonPeter Jackson has been recognised for his total dedication and service to the setting up and development of two organisations, the British Deaf History Society and the Institute of British Sign Language (iBSL). Peter is also recognised as one of Britain’s top Deaf historians. Peter was dedicated to ensuring that iBSL
developed to become one of Britain’s established British Sign Language qualifications bodies, led and run by Deaf people for people learning BSL.

Doug, Liz and Peter have been exceptional role models over the years and it is fitting, that they have been nationally recognised.

Terry Riley, Chair of the BDA said:

“The BDA Medal of Honour 2016 is to recognise incredible individuals, like Doug and Liz, who have the confidence and courage to stand up for what they believe. The Medal is presented to inspirational individuals who work to improve the lives of Deaf people, making our wider society more inclusive and acceptable. I am also very proud to give the BDA Chair’s Award 2016 to Peter who has shown a strong passion and belief in both Deaf history and BSL qualifications-awarding work, making sure that he can pass it on to the right people to further develop his work in the future.”

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