Judy Fryd CBE, Harpenden, campaigner & founder of Mencap.

First Posted On The Herts. Hidden Heroines Project Website: 11th December 2015

The Hertfordshire Hidden Heroines Project Flyer.
Copyright Joanna Scott, Illustrator.


Judy Fryd CBE (31 October 1909 – October 2000) was a British campaigner for mentally handicapped children and the founder of The National Association of Parents of Backward Children, now Mencap.

She was born Caroline Joyce Manning at Hornsey, London. After attending Minchenden School, she studied economics and political science at Ruskin College, Oxford. She married John Fryd and their daughter Felicity was born with a learning disability. Their experiences led her to campaign for better support for such children and their families.

In October 2009 it was announced that she would feature on a new first class Royal Mail postage stamp.
Her obituary in the Guardian describes her as a woman who would “not take no for answer”.  This was a vital trait for the woman who altered the public’s perception of learning disability. Judy Fryd CBE sowed the seeds of Mencap, now the largest learning disability organisation in the country.

Although modest in private, in public Fryd was a dynamic campaigner for children and adults with learning disabilities – people considered 50 years ago as “backward”.

Today, a person with a learning disability serves on the recently formed Disability Rights Commission and many of those previously in long-stay “sub-normality” hospitals now live independently.”


Her daughter Linda says:

‘Judy was the original Founder of what is now known as Mencap, and worked hard for the rest of her life to assist in the development the work of the Society towards what it is today – a massively important and campaigning organisation for the protection and advance of people with a learning disability – including the mentally disabled – and a vehicle for their parents and siblings to get their voices heard, and bring about the changes so necessary for their inclusion in today’s world.’


Here is a link to Information on the: Herts Hidden Heroines Project 

This page was added on 30/11/2016.

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  • Is it possible to append ‘CBE’ in the title references to Judy, and wherever her name appears in the markers to her entry in Hidden Heroines?
    Also, correction:
    In para 2 of the text about Judy, please enter the word “learning” – to read: “…. seeds of Mencap, now the largest learning disability organisation …. “

    By Ms Linda Fryd (01/12/2016)
  • Judy was awarded the CBE in 1996, and also in 1996 was presented with the ‘Heart of Gold’ in Esther Rantzen’s BBC TV programme, by Lord Rix, then President of Royal Mencap. This can be viewed in the BBC archives. She also helped set up, with other local parents in 1959, the Harpenden Society for Mentally Handicapped Children, still flourishing as Harpenden Mencap.

    By Ms Linda Fryd (01/12/2016)