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Trevor Palmer
Wales, United Kingdom

Trevor Palmer, a full-time wheelchair user has spent decades working with people with disabilities in Wales. He loves to work and integrate with people. Being creative to improve the lives of others keeps Trevor smiling. "Accessibility issues, equality issues and fairness are all things I’m passionate about."

Trevor Palmer has spent decades working with people with disabilities in Wales.  He was travelling around Europe for a few years, then studied leather goods and bag design and manufacture. Trevor undertook overseas voluntary assignments for the British Executive Service Overseas (BESO).

Between 1981 and 1997 Trevor went for assignments in Trinidad, Thailand, Turkey, Mauritius, Zimbabwe, Mongolia and India.In 1987 he moved to South Wales and in 1994 was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis.

"Being an independent person, I found it very difficult being treated as a sufferer and victim by authorities who got involved with my welfare.

I contacted BESO to see if they could find me an assignment in a country where people didn’t know about multiple sclerosis so that I could regain my worth. They offered me an assignment in Mongolia advising an ex-Soviet tannery. Walking was difficult at that time and I needed to do something in order to get me back to reality and refocus my life and to test my capabilities."

While Trevor was in Mongolia he met an old contact who was setting up a project in Ethiopia where he's services were needed so he landed there few months later. Unfortunately on the second day there, Trevor was involved in a terrorist incident in the Ghion Hotel, and ended up in the British Embassy clinic. Luckily, he survive a bomb attack that officials killed four people. Trevor felt it necessary to complete his commitments, even though his mobility was worsening. "I undertook three further BESO assignments in IndiaTravelling overseas was becoming difficult for me and around that time the internet was breaking out big time, and I set up one of the first E-commerce businesses in Wales – first selling my own range of leather goods and fashion accessories, then pet accessories, selling leads and boots for dogs, which I manufactured here in Newport."

 

After Trevor started using wheelchair permanently, he designed a specialist wheelchair gloves and other accessories which were later sold around the world. "I got involved in disability issues for obvious reasons and involved myself in Newport Access Group and later became the director of Disability Wales. In 2004 I was contracted by Judith Isherwood, the first Wales Millennium Centre Chief Executive, who had come over from Sydney, to establish and run their centre’s Disability Advisory Group while it was being built and fitted out."

"Remember, it is the easiest thing in the world to just do what has been done before, for me it’s the challenge and excitement of being creative to improve the lives of others which keeps me motivated and alive. It keeps me smiling."

While Trevor was in Mongolia he met an old contact who was setting up a project in Ethiopia where he's services were needed so he landed there few months later. Unfortunately on the second day there, Trevor was involved in a terrorist incident in the Ghion Hotel, and ended up in the British Embassy clinic. Luckily, he survive a bomb attack that officials killed four people. Trevor felt it essential to complete his commitments, even though his mobility was worsening. "I undertook three further BESO assignments in IndiaTravelling overseas was becoming difficult for me and around that time the internet was breaking out big time, and I set up one of the first E-commerce businesses in Wales – first selling my own range of leather goods and fashion accessories, then pet accessories, selling leads and boots for dogs, which I manufactured here in Newport."

 

When Trevor started using wheelchair permanently, he designed a specialist wheelchair gloves and other accessories which were later sold around the world. "I got involved in disability issues for obvious reasons and involved myself in Newport Access Group and later became the director of Disability Wales. In 2004 I was contracted by Judith Isherwood, the first Wales Millennium Centre Chief Executive, who had come over from Sydney, to establish and run their centre’s Disability Advisory Group while it was being built and fitted out."

Since 2004 Trevor has been also involved in ResponsABLE assistance, which supports people with disabilities in disaster situations around the globe. He is also a trustee of See Around Britain. It's an online site and app to show people the accessibility of venues around the UK. "One of the principal themes of the Social Services and Well-being in Wales is to give people a stronger voice and increased control of their lives."

Trevor sold his leather business in 2011 and started concentrating on the things he enjoyed. "Accessibility issues, equality issues and fairness are all things I’m passionate about." Trevor also likes to write what he thinks is therapeutic. He loves working and integrating with people. " In this world there are lots of people who tell you how to do things but not enough people who actually do things.

Remember, it is the easiest thing in the world to just do what has been done before, for me it’s the challenge and excitement of being creative to improve the lives of others which keeps me motivated and alive."