My buddy Su Gorman, who has died aged 68 of coronary heart failure, was a campaigner for haemophiliac victims of Britain’s contaminated blood scandal. Her work together with her husband, Steve Diamond, as a part of the strain group Tainted Blood, did a lot to convey in regards to the contaminated blood inquiry, established in 2018 to discover why folks within the UK got contaminated blood and blood merchandise.
Within the Seventies and 80s, 4,689 British folks with haemophilia and different bleeding issues grew to become contaminated with hepatitis C (as Steve did) and/or HIV after being handled with contaminated blood merchandise. Of these, greater than 3,000 have since died.
Su was small, fierce, intelligent, indignant and pushed. She was additionally heat and humorous, however many solely noticed the erudite, ferocious facet. She had probably the most piercing blue eyes – stunning in themselves, however terrifying when targeted on the politicians and senior NHS workers she blamed for the scandal.
Born in London, she was the daughter of Betsy Cowling, a authorized secretary, and Terence Gorman, an engineer for London Transport, and went to Mayfield complete college in Putney. She met Steve at Exeter College, the place they each studied Russian.
Within the 80s they unofficially adopted Ken Johnson, a homeless 16-year-old. To their nice satisfaction he went on to develop into the youngest headteacher in Lewisham.
Steve was a light haemophiliac, capable of stay a full life till contaminated with contaminated blood product. After contracting hepatitis C within the mid-80s – although it was not recognized till 1997 – he grew to become torpid, forgetful, distant and suffered numerous surprising bleeds.
Su gave up her job as a senior social employee to take care of Steve and struggle for justice. She was a strolling encyclopedia of dates and paperwork that uncovered horrible failings. Other than looking for an admission that the coverage of shopping for low-cost, contaminated blood (largely from US prisons) had killed 1000’s of individuals within the UK, the struggle was additionally for compensation. It left Su and Steve impecunious as a result of they might not work.
I first met them in 2017, simply after the then prime minister, Theresa Might, introduced a statutory public inquiry. We spent hours speaking in a pub in Ramsgate in Kent, the place they lived, as they defined the scandal’s myriad complexities. After the inquiry started in early 2018, Su appeared with Steve on radio and TV reveals to speak in regards to the influence of the scandal
In December 2018 Steve died of whole organ failure, aged 62. Su continued to struggle, often attending the inquiry regardless of rising unwell well being and giving testimony that was blistering and heartbreaking. She moved to Dawlish in Devon, the place she lived in a static caravan at Golden Sands vacation park, having fun with the pure magnificence and being near the place Steve’s ashes had been scattered.
Final 12 months the federal government made an interim compensation cost of £100,000 to every of those that had been contaminated, and to bereaved companions. However Su died earlier than publication of the ultimate report and any choice had been made in regards to the closing compensation – a heroic campaigner, however in the end one other sufferer of this shameful scandal.