The world needs fearless fighters like Betty Boothroyd
Many people have spoken of Betty Boothroyd’s straight-talking, no-nonsense approach, her courage and her example as the first and still the only female Speaker of the House of Commons, in which role she was widely respected across the political spectrum.
But she also had deep humanity and great compassion for those who faced injustice and discrimination and I was blessed for many years to have her steadfast support in raising awareness of the plight of widows around the world as a Patron of The Loomba Foundation.
Betty understood the plight of women who suddenly found themselves without a husband and with children to support with nothing but obstacles in their path. She was determined to help shine a light on an issue that for hundreds of years had been ignored, and to help bring hope where previously there was only despair.
Baroness Boothroyd put her money where her mouth was and made a donation to The Loomba Foundation every year. She attended all our fundraising events in London, including many Diwali dinners, and visited India with us to see our work on the ground in 2004.
Over two and a half decades we have succeeded in bringing the plight of destitute widows to the attention of the global community, including our campaign for the United Nations to endorse an annual International Widows Day, which succeeded in 2010. Betty Boothroyd would be the first to say that the job is never done, but her contribution played an important part in making people listen and we will be forever grateful.
The world needs fearless fighters like Betty Boothroyd. We will miss her and pay tribute to all she has achieved.
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