Mayor, Councillor and Campaigner
Gerri Bird is mayor of Cambridge and a member of Cambridge Council. First elected in 2011, Gerri is a determined advocate for the rights of disabled people.
At just 10 months old, Gerri was living in Ireland when she contracted polio. She spent the next six years in hospital, losing contact with her mother. Once well, she spent some time in a children’s home in Oakington until she was adopted in Cambridgeshire where she has lived and worked ever since.
Gerri has campaigned all her adult life for the rights of disabled people. She first worked at Cambridge’s Addenbrooke’s Hospital, but in the 1980s she joined the charity Disability Cambridgeshire. Gerri is a forum manager at the advice and information service for disabled people, older people, their families and carers. In this role she travels around the county, showing disabled people what is out there for them.
In the 1990s, after joining a community action group, Gerri began taking an interest in local politics. She was elected as a councillor for the East Chesterton Ward in 2011.
As a councillor, Gerri has driven many campaigns, particularly focused on issues of disability rights and access. She was central to a campaign to save a set of ground floor public toilets from relocation to a higher, less accessible floor. Her successful petition was signed by 11,000 people. The refurbished, ground floor the toilets opened just days after Gerri became Mayor and she was able to cut the ribbon herself.
Gerri is never afraid to take on a challenge and has swum competitively, jumped out of an aeroplane and even won trophies for banger-racing.
“I’m so honoured to receive and to be on the Shaw Trust Power list 2019.”