John Penrose MP...

PUBLISHED: 13:01 18 September 2006 | UPDATED: 09:53 24 May 2010

John Penrose

John Penrose

Last week I met a very remarkable man. Colin Bennett is well past retirement age and registered blind, but he was walking from Cheddar to Weston seafront to raise money for Weston Hospicecare

Last week I met a very remarkable man. Colin Bennett is well past retirement age and registered blind, but he was walking from Cheddar to Weston seafront to raise money for Weston Hospicecare. I joined him and his support crew for a while as they went through Winscombe. He was full of energy and enthusiasm for his cause.I was reminded of him again a few days later at police headquarters in Portishead, where I was supporting the launch of a campaign to stamp out hate crime. Most of us assume that hate crimes are targeted against gays, blacks, Muslims or Jews, but the problem goes much wider than that. It can even include crimes targeted against people because they're disabled, like Colin. Earlier this year, when I was working on incapacity benefit reform in parliament, I was horrified to find out that nearly half of disabled people regularly experience verbal abuse, intimidation or physical attacks. Not because they've done anything wrong, but simply because they're disabled. More than a third of the incidents are physical attacks. Less than half of the victims tell the police, and a quarter move home to escape their tormentors.That's why the new police campaign is so important. It aims to teach young people that it isn't a crime to be different, and to understand why discrimination and hatred are wrong. If we can bring up a new generation right, the cycle of hate crime may be broken.But alongside the campaign, maybe there's another, simpler way to show people that it isn't a crime to be different. We could just introduce them to Colin. Half an hour with his infectious enthusiasm and drive should convince anybody that being different isn't wrong. Sometimes it can be better too.

More from Weston Mercury

19 minutes ago

Burnham’s Princess Theatre is set to get a makeover after the town council’s bid for a major Government grant was approved.

Read more
08:06

A seven-year-old boy was rescued from the mud at Brean after he became stuck while out exploring with his family.

Read more
Brean

A ‘vital’ £500,000 investment into mental health services hopes to make a significant difference to young people.

Read more

Replacement play equipment at a Worle park will finally be installed next year.

Read more
Yesterday, 18:00

A new family show, inspired by Hans Christian Anderson’s classic festive tale, The Little Match Girl, is coming to Clevedon’s The Theatre Shop.

Read more
Yesterday, 16:52

A blue plaque commemorating one of Weston’s most famous architects will be dedicated this week.

Read more
Yesterday, 16:00

Plans to join up a coastal walking and cycling route from Brean to Clevedon have moved a step closer to becoming a reality.

Read more
Yesterday, 15:00

A handful of students at Worle Community School have launched a club to help anyone who worries about being bullied.

Read more
Yesterday, 13:00

An innovative piece of equipment which helps people in late stage dementia is available to patients in Weston-super-Mare.

Read more
Weston-super-Mare
Yesterday, 11:03

A ‘casualty’ was rushed to hospital after a crash on a major commuter route yesterday (Saturday).

Read more

Most Read News

Read Online

Image
Read the Weston Worle and Somerset Mercury e-edition E-edition

Local Weather

Partly Cloudy

Partly Cloudy

max temp: 10°C

min temp: 7°C

Useful Links

Advertise in the paper
Submit a Story
Subscribe to the paper
Competitions
Send Your Letters
Order Photos
Family notices
iwitness24
Facebook
Twitter
Reader Travel

Family Notices 24

Newsletter Sign Up

Weston Mercury twice-weekly newsletter
Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy

Hot Jobs

Show Job Lists