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ACCESSIBLE TRANSPORT COMPANY UNWIN PAYS TRIBUTE TO FOUNDER

Unwin has paid tribute to its founder, Norman Unwin, who has died at the age of 89.

Norman Unwin led the way in creating products to make travel and transport safe and accessible for people with disabilities.

He created the world’s first device to secure wheelchairs in vehicles after witnessing a disastrous seaside outing when five people in wheelchairs travelled fastened to the vehicle with leather straps, lengths of rope and neckties.

His company, Somerset-based Unwin Safety Systems, established more than 60 years ago, continued to grow and, as Unwin, is now part of a global group owned by BraunAbility. He and his late wife Jean retired in 2014 after 58 years, when Swedish company Autoadapt bought the company.

Unwin Managing Director Chris Hellier said: “It is thanks to Norman’s tireless efforts that our company today is able to help thousands of people with disabilities travel in safety.

“In the early days he took on the Department of Transport – and won - when they proposed a directive that said some wheelchairs in buses did not need to be secured. He looked for solutions and made sure that they worked. 
“Norman’s ethos continues today in all the work we do at Unwin headquarters at Martock. We all send our deepest condolences to his family.”

A Thanksgiving service for Norman Unwin will be held on Wednesday 25 April at 2pm at St John’s Church in Yeovil.