Mary Duffy – Innovator Par Excellence

Resolute, determined, funny, innovative and creative Mary Duffy is all of these things.

As a Thalidomide survivor, she has invented all sorts of ingenious ways of managing her daily life and her artistic career without arms.

Mary lives by the sea in Wicklow in Ireland and is an accomplished and honoured artist.

Aside from her painting, she’s tried pottery and photography. She loves gardening and is particularly adept at weeding onions using a spoon gripped between her toes.

Listen to Mary talking about portable grab rails, book page-turners, and gardening footwear.

Suction Grab Rails
Shoe Trowel
Reading Frame

Are you sure they’ve got the right Tanni Grey-Thompson?

Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson is a national figure, a person who has moved from a highly successful athletics career to being a prominent political figure in Westminster, as if this was always the plan. How did she manage that?

Born in Cardiff, she picked up the ‘Tanni’ name from her sister’s mispronunciation. She also picked up a strong work ethic from her parents, especially her dad. This meant she would be out training on Christmas Day or now, asks her team of helpers to brief her as thoroughly as is humanly possible so she can win her arguments.

Professionally how do we see her now, and how does she see herself? Is it about her genre-defining career on the track, or wearing the robes of the establishment, or is she now the ‘woman who Tweets’ about rail journeys?

We got to spend time with Tanni over a Zoom call to ask her this and lots of other questions including, does she still speak to Alan Shearer after that moment? Who has helped her the most? What exactly is ‘Snog Marry or Kill’? The biggest issue she’s dealing with related to disability right now? Do Paralympians get short thrift compared to Olympians? Are disabled women included in new current women’s political movements? What’s the significance of her necklace when she’s in the House of Lords?

Twitter:   @Tanni_GT

Steph Cutler – Panorama and Victoria Sponge

Steph’s career started in the fashion industry where she designed for high street labels, such as Ted Baker and M&S. She had always wanted to be a fashion designer and says she was working hard, playing hard and keen to make her mark. As her career began to take off disability came into her life when she unexpectedly experienced sight loss.

Her company, Making Lemonade was initially born from her lived experience of acquiring her impairment. This quickly led to an interest in the lived experiences of a wide range of other disabled people and interest in disability equality generally. She became an advocate of disability issues and a champion of diversity and inclusion which remains the foundation of Making Lemonade.

In this podcast, Steph tells us about the things she uses on a regular basis which help her get passed or around the barriers her sight loss presents.

Here are links to the Gear, Gadgets and Gizmos she mentioned.



Panasonic TV voice guidance 


What did we learn during Covid 19?

Phil & Simon pressed pause on life and pressed record on Zoom audio to record a special podcast. We have stopped the weekly podcasts and felt we needed a wrap-up show inviting back some of our favourite guests. Baroness Jane Campbell, Joanna Wootten and Geoff Adams-Spinks kindly accepted and answer our three questions. What’s been hardest during Covid 19 so far?What have you learnt?What will you keep doing when things return to normal-ish? Without spoiling things, there were some predictable replies like pacing our life better, keep on using the calming hacks and enjoying banana bread. There were a few surprises too.

Transcript  (

It’s Literally Just Mowing (

Where’s the Interpreter Campaign  (

Banana Bread recipe  (

You might be interested, after recording this podcast, Phil & Simon asked themselves the same question and filmed it. It’s on our YouTube Channel. Subtitles / CC are automated but corrected, do update if you see errors.Simon & Phil reflect ( about the time so far, under Covid 19

The Phil & Simon Show – Face It with James Partridge

You’re out with a friend or colleague and because they look different from many, they are receiving some stares which you notice. What should you do? If you’re out with James Partridge, ask him, as it’s highly likely that he’s noticed way before you and he’s already ‘dealing with it’. James is a distinguished person. In his life, his family, his career and a few other ways too. In 1990 his first book, ‘Changing Faces: the Challenge of Facial Disfigurement’ was published by Penguin. It talked about his experiences after he sustained 40% burns to his face, upper body, arms, and hands in a car accident at the age of 18 in 1970. Soon after the book he founded the charity Changing Faces in 1992 and more recently has gone worldwide setting up the organisation Face Equality International.In the early 2000s James, along with Phil and Simon and Stephen Lloyd, worked together on Dining with a Difference. These were successful and impactful choreographed dinners for the boardrooms of UK organisations. We take a look at some of them.  James has written a second book which he describes and more personal this time. Face It: Facial Disfigurement and My Fight For Face Equality, Pebble Press is released out now. James’ website  ( on Twitter   @JRJPartridge

Feet and Hands in Harmony.

Sue Kent is a massage therapist who uses her feet to massage. She pioneered this technique due to an upper limb disability caused by the drug thalidomide.

She has 8- inch- long arms and seven fingers and no thumbs. She has little strength or grip ability in her hands. Sue uses both her feet and her arms to do daily tasks, and she sometimes uses her teeth although she isn’t sure this is always a good idea.

Sue’s favourite pastimes include sea swimming, gardening and painting, all of which she does using a combination of her feet and hands.

Sue runs a Facebook page called Gadgets to make life easier, disabling disability. Here people can share gadgets they found that are useful or ask if anybody has a gadget for a problem that they have.

Sue mentioned the following products/items in the podcast

A rocker chopper, here’s an example

Automatic tweezers

Split toe socks.