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  • Writer's pictureThe British Polio Fellowship

Colin Powell MBE, Patron of BPF, dies aged 73

Updated: Jan 10, 2023

Colin Powell, who received an MBE in the 2022 New Year Honours list for services to people with polio in the UK, has died aged 73.

The news was confirmed by his fiancé, Dawn Grafetsberger on Tuesday 3 January.

Born Stewart Colin Powell in 1949, Colin contracted polio aged six months after a swimming outing with his father. The polio virus attacked his spinal cord and left him paralysed and a full-time wheelchair user.

Colin didn’t start his school education until he was aged 11 and left with only one GCE O-Level. He started work but determined to progress, he continued to study in the evenings and at weekends through a correspondence course. His hard work paid off and he qualified as a chartered certified accountant.

Colin has been a life member of the British Polio Fellowship (BPF) and a very active Patron for the charity. After retiring, he joined Rotary to help support its work to eradicate polio. Colin, however, wet even further and began to focus on making Rotary aware of polio survivors. He gave honest and candid talks, in person and during Covid using Zoom, about his life and challenges living with the effect of polio and Post-Polio Syndrome (PPS).

Kripen Dhrona, Chief Executive at BPF, said: "I got to know Colin when I first started at the Fellowship, and he quickly become a friend as well as a work colleague.

He was passionate about ensuring polio is eradicated. He didn't want to see others go through what he lived with all his life. He worked closely with Rotary and the BPF to ensure not only the eradication effort was supported, but the need to help survivors was also recognised and acknowledged.

"When I think of Colin, I will always remember his warm (but slightly cheeky) smile and his wonderful sense of humour. My heartfelt condolences go to Dawn, his fiancé and all his family and friends."

Colin's funeral will be held on Tuesday, 24 January at 2:40pm at West Herts Crematorium, WD25 0JS. The venue for gathering will be announced in due course.

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