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Obituary: Renowned disability campaigner William Keown dies aged 79

By Alf McCreary

The death has taken place of William Keown, one of the best-known campaigners in Northern Ireland for people with disabilities. He was 79 and died in hospital earlier this week.

His funeral service was held yesterday at Mourne Presbyterian Church, Kilkeel.

Mr Keown, who was born with cerebral palsy, learned to walk by holding on to his pet dog, and in 1976 he came second in the Great Britain Disability Achievement Awards.

He was inspired to form his own organisation, the William Keown Trust, which recognises the achievements of people with disabilities, including children and adults, and their carers.

Mr Keown and his wife personally raised funds and he was later appointed MBE for his services to people with disabilities.

The trust, based in Dundrum, progressively widened its support network and recently it initiated awards to organisations which made their buildings accessible to the disabled.

Philip Beattie, chairman of the trust, paid tribute to Mr Keown, saying: "He was a very caring person and always looked for the best in people, and how to help them."

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