Inspirational champion for blind people
- Credit: Archant
Inspirational Chris Maule-Oatway, a blind man who championed the cause of the visually impaired in Norfolk for many years, has died aged 65.
With his cane and cheery smile, Mr Maule-Oatway became a familiar figure around Norwich – fiercely independent and never allowing his blindness prevent him from living life to the full.
As equipment adviser for the Norfolk and Norwich Association for the Blind, he worked tirelessly to support fellow blind people and was an articulate advocate on issues affecting them.
NNAB chief executive Max Marriner said: 'Chris will be fondly remembered as a proud and respected ambassador for the visually impaired in Norfolk, epitomising all that our charity stands for.
'He kept abreast of all the latest technological changes, which meant he had the knowledge and authority to advise people when life was at its bleakest on how to continue living as independently and confidently as possible.
You may also want to watch:
'He also cared, and stood up to the powers-that-be many a time to make sure the rights and needs of blind people were recognised.'
Two years ago, Mr Maule-Oatway, who lived in Grove Avenue, Norwich, astonished Norfolk county councillors when he gave evidence from notes in Braille to a meeting of the council's scrutiny committee at a time when the council planned to withdraw free bus passes to blind people.
- 1 Air ambulance called and A47 closed after incident
- 2 Major Lowestoft road partially closed due to police incident
- 3 Why this Norfolk village is one of the best in the UK
- 4 'I couldn't believe my eyes' - snorkeller finds 125-year-old shipwreck
- 5 Man airlifted to hospital with serious head injuries after fight near pub
- 6 Shed set alight, 16 broken into and pumpkins destroyed at allotments
- 7 Pedestrian suffers life-threatening injuries in A47 crash
- 8 Do you recognise this man?
- 9 'Very calculated predator' - how jailed abuser befriended pupils' families
- 10 A47 set for two weeks of roadworks from Monday
They were so impressed by his impassioned rhetoric, the decision was eventually reversed, which means blind people continue to receive free travel on the county's buses.
Born blind, Mr Maule-Outway grew up in Surrey and worked for the Greater London Council before moving to Norfolk in the 1980s, where he worked for Norfolk County Council as an IT programmer before joining the NNAB full-time five years ago.
An accomplished singer and musician, he was a member of the choir at St Thomas' Church on Earlham Road, Norwich, the Norwich Philharmonic and University of East Anglia Choirs, as well as being a 'sing-a-long' accordion player.
Mr Maule-Outway was also a great fan of real ale and a regular at Norwich's Trafford Arms pub.
Landlord and former Sheriff of Norwich Chris Higgins said: 'Chris was a lovely man – the life and soul of the party. He will be sadly missed.
'He never once gave the impression that he was sorry for himself. There were so many facets to him as an individual. Everyone at the Trafford loved him and we're already planning his wake, which he would have loved.'
Mr Maule-Outway's funeral will be held at St Thomas' Church, Earlham Road, Norwich at 1.15pm on September 1.
Would you like to pay tribute to Mr Maule-Oatway? Email firstname.lastname@example.org