Former county council care manager who was champion for disabled people in Northamptonshire dies

Phil Arnold
Phil Arnold

A long-time Wellingborough resident who managed Northamptonshire County Council services for people with learning difficulties and disabilities has died aged 81.

Phil Arnold was a stalwart of disability services in Northampton and in East Northants throughout the 1970s, 80s and 90s.

A friend of Mr Arnold, Joan Cupples, who worked alongside him in Northampton and Wellingborough between 1982 and 1995, said he was no ordinary person who "just cared" and he always went the extra mile.

"He had exceptionally strong principles, based not only on his Christian faith but also on an innate sense of justice and social duty," said Mrs Cupples.

"He always went the extra mile to ensure that his service users had the best possible experience from their daycare, whatever the level of their need.

"He constantly looked for new ways to improve the quality of what his units provided.

"He was a great believer in the therapeutic value of work and sought ways to make the working experience available to people who are often marginalised in this area of life, but he also recognised the importance of providing excellent physical and emotional care to people whose level of disability and need was greater.

"In a world where care has become an industry, Phil just cared."

In the 1980s Mr Arnold worked at Shire Lodge in Northampton – whose catchment area in those days included the town and the whole of South Northants.

In the late 1980s, he took over the management of services in Wellingborough, his home town, providing a range of types of daycare to disabled adults from the local area including East Northants.

Mindful of his health, in the mid-1990s Mr Arnold stepped down from his role but he never forgot about his life's work and continued to make a voluntary contribution in his new home.

"Those who worked with and for Phil have only praise and gratitude to express," said Mrs Cupples.

"He was the hardest worker on site, wherever he was.

"First in and last out, never one to begrudge giving up his own time if necessary, he supported his teams diligently and expertly, always with humour.

"He provided the same level of support to families and to local voluntary groups, such as Mencap, and was greatly appreciated."

Mr Arnold leaves a daughter, two sons, seven grandchildren and one great-grandchild.

Phil’s funeral will be held in Cheltenham on January 28 at 2pm.

Anyone wishing to pay their respects can do so by making a donation to Down Syndrome Group Northamptonshire – contact the Treasurer Steve Allwork on steveallwork@yahoo.co.uk.