David Blunkett

Born: June 6, 1947

Occupation: Politicians

Challenges overcome: Visual Impairment

Successes, Achievements & Awards:

David Blunkett was born in Sheffield in 1947. He has four children and has been married to Dr Margaret Williams since 2009. He is a Labour Party Politician and MP for Sheffield Brightside and Hillsborough, representing Sheffield Brightside from 1987 – 2010. He has worked as Education and Employment Secretary, Home Secretary and Work and Pensions Secretary in Tony Blair’s Cabinet following Labour’s victory in the 1997 general election.

David Blunkett was promoted to become Home Secretary following the 2001 general election, a position he held until he resigned in 2004. Following the 2005 general election, he was appointed Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, though he resigned from that role later that year following a large amount of media coverage relating to external business interests in the period when he did not hold a cabinet post.

On 20 June 2014, David Blunkett announced to his constituency party that he would be standing down from the House of Commons at the next general election in May 2015. David Blunkett is a Vice President of the Royal National Institute of Blind People and a vice president of the National Alzheimer’s Society, and has close links with a range of other charities (local to Sheffield and nationally) including those relating to substance abuse and breast cancer, and is a Patron of the Employers Network for Equality & Inclusion (enei). He is also a long-standing Patron of The Micro & Anophthalmic Children’s Society, the UK’s only charity supporting families of children born without eyes or with underdeveloped eyes.

Challenges Overcome

David Blunkett was born blind due to a rare genetic disorder that prevented his optic nerves from developing properly. He grew up in an underprivileged family and in 1959, he endured a family tragedy when his father was gravely injured in an industrial accident. David was educated at schools for the blind in Sheffield and Shrewsbury. He was apparently told at school that one of his few options in life was to become a  lathe operator. David attended the Royal National College for the Blind in Shrewsbury and won a place at the University of Sheffield, where he gained a BA honours degree in Political Theory and Institutions. David Blunkett’s guide dogs – Ruby, Teddy, Offa, Lucy, Sadie and most recently Cosby – have become familiar characters in the House of Commons, usually sleeping at his feet on the floor of the chamber, inspiring occasional witty comments from Blunkett and his fellow MPs on both sides of the house.

Disability Definitions

Visually Impaired

Visual impairment (or vision impairment) is a decreased ability to see to a degree that causes problems not fixable by usual means, such as glasses or medication. Eye disorders which can lead to visual impairments can include Retinal Degeneration, Albinism, Cataracts, Glaucoma, Muscular Problems that result in visual disturbances, Corneal Disorders, Diabetic Retinopathy, Congenital Disorders, and infection. Visual impairment can also be caused by brain and nerve disorders, in which case it is usually termed Ccortical Visual Impairment.




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Information sources:

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David Blunkett. (2015, March 31). In Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved 13:27, April 2, 2015, from http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=David_Blunkett&oldid=654388673


Image source: Wikicommons

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