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Remembering Mike Shamash

Gerry Nosowska, BASW Chair and Ruth Allen, BASW CEO pay tribute to Mike Shamash

We are deeply saddened to write of the sudden death of Mike Shamash – disability rights activist, educator of social workers, academic, wise friend and advisor to BASW.

Mike brought a unique warmth, kindness and humour to all that he did.

Mike was a much-loved contributor to BASW over many years. He was a Trustee of the BASW Charity and was involved in a wide range of our activities - to which he brought not only expertise and insights from his own experience of being ‘differently-abled’, but also a wealth of knowledge from his work across many organisations.

"Mike’s contribution to the professional development committee was invaluable and his support to other members including myself was selfless and always with a massive warm smile. An amazing advocate and human being!" – Fran Fuller, Chair BASW Professional Development Committee

Mike had been a lecturer of social workers and others in Critical Disability Studies at Middlesex University. He was a Director of disability advocacy organisation Shaping Our Lives, a consultant, researcher and contributor to many initiatives on disability rights, and had been the Chair of the Restricted Growth Association. He promoted the involvement and participation of people with lived experience of using social work and other services through his many roles.

Mike brought a unique warmth, kindness and humour to all that he did. He had a gift for striking friendships and building relationships. He could put people at ease and open conversations that broke down barriers to mutual understanding – whether talking about disability rights, art, cars, music, travel, food or politics, in his unique, animated way.

Mike brought his generous, curious and ebullient spirit into our professional world and it was made richer for it.

"When I think of Mike - I always smile. That's how I'll remember him" – Angie Bartoli, BASW England Vice-Chair

We will miss hugely the light and warmth Mike brought to BASW. But we will always remember what he so generously shared – wisdom, humour and a passion for a fairer, kinder world.

"Mike shared his time generously, he had an infectious laugh and wonderful smile, his legacy will live on, and he was so proud of his beautiful daughter - your dad was amazing. Thank you, Mike. Always remembered." – Maris Stratulis, National Director of BASW England