Appreciation: Carol Graham, feminist comedian and activist, volunteer worker and humanitarian

Carol Graham was a familiar sight on her distinctive tricycle
Carol Graham was a familiar sight on her distinctive tricycle
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Carol Anne Graham – 6 May 1948 to 18 September 2019 .

Carol Graham was born in Scotland and moved to a small town in Canada with her ­parents when she was a child.

In her 20s, Carol was encouraged to leave home by her mother, who felt that as a young woman with cerebral palsy she was more likely to achieve independence away from home. In typical adventurous fashion Carol took this advice a bit further than her mum had meant and was soon on a flight to Edinburgh where she knew no one and where she started to carve out her own life.

Carol found herself a flat and a job with Shelter Campaign for the Homeless where she worked for 17 years, often putting in many extra unpaid hours in addition to her paid work. She was also a volunteer worker for Women’s Aid on both the campaigning and practical side of the work.

Carol was a gifted raconteur. She developed this skill into writing scripts for herself and soon became one of ­Scotland’s (possibly the UK’s) earliest stand up feminist comics, whose act was full of humanity, humour and precise and pithy social commentary. She had a knack for telling people to get back in their box and managing to make them fall in love with her at exactly the same time.

With Edinburgh as a base, Carol was soon travelling the world. She spent time on a kibbutz in Israel, visited most of Europe and more locally organised the design of an adult tricycle to help her ­travel round Edinburgh where she was well known to many as she cycled everywhere to keep up with her own very hectic schedule.

Carol fought back against physical disability, and dealt with the prejudice that can often surround that, with supreme compassion, wit and determination. She also became a sought-after speaker on the rights of women with disabilities and spoke on radio, at conferences, and in newspapers about this cause which was so close to her heart.

Most of all Carol was a humanitarian. She saw ­people as they were and welcomed them in. Folk who believed they had come to help her, would go away feeling better. She was one of a kind and will be sorely missed.

Morna Burdon