Judy Fryd

1909 – 2000

Born in London in 1909 Judy Fryd (born Carol Joyce Manning) was a campaigner who dedicated her life to furthering the rights of people with learning disabilities. Both she and her husband John were active Labour Party members and were concerned with issues related to equality and fairness.

Their first daughter Felicity (born 1938) was unlike other children. Her family say that if she had been born now she would almost certainly have been diagnosed as autistic. When Judy and John failed to be able to find appropriate schooling for Felicity (even a specialist school sent her home after only a few hours describing her as uneducable!) Judy wrote a letter to Nursery World Magazine asking other parents in a similar situation to write to her. She received over one thousand letters in response and resolved to write back to every one. From here Judy began to put people in similar situations in touch with each other and a network of local groups popped up.  Initially known as The Association of Parents of Backwards Children, the charity still supports families today and is known as Mencap.

From 1950s onwards Judy and other parents argued for their children to be afforded the same right to an education as their mainstream peers. After years of tireless campaigning in 1971 The Education Handicapped Children Act was passed which meant, for the first time, local authorise were responsible for ensuring children with learning disabilities received an education.

Green Class by Nina Lemon

Green Class was written by Nina Lemon tells the story of tenacious campaigner and mother Judy Fryd CBE who founded Mencap. It was recorded live in March 2019 at South Hill Park Arts Centre. This episode was directed and produced by Rebecca Alloway.

Original music composed by Ellie Shortt and Liam Beard. The Comedian was played by Nancy Hannigan, the Narrators were played Saoirse Doyle, Joshua Moore and Nancy Hannigan, Jess was played by Abby Wilkinson, Beth was played by Eleanor Stock, Jane was played by Rosanna Weber, Katy was played by Casey Smith, Judy Fryd was played by Ellie Shortt, John Fryd was played by Felix Berendse, the Dr was played by Liam Beard, Felicity was played by Emma Selwyn, Mrs Hawthorne was played by Saoirse Doyle, Felicity’s opera was sung by Charlotte Rowling and Alderman Dingley was played by William Meek

Special Thanks to: Access All Areas, The Orpheus Centre, Tricia Hitchcock, Rosemary Rowling and Mencap. This podcast is funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund and Arts Council England. If you enjoyed the podcast, we would really love it if could rate, review, subscribe and maybe even tell some of your friends about our podcast. Thank you for listening.

If you or a loved one has a learning disability and in need of some advice or support contact Mencap’s Learning Disability Helpline. Their helpline is completely free and ran by experienced advisors. You can call the helpline on 0808 808 1111 or by email on helpline@mencap.org.uk

You can also join Mencap’s online community, FamilyHub, to connect with other family members or carers of someone with a learning disability. Here you can share triumphs, challenges and tips and advice with other families. Visit www.mencap.org.uk/familyhub