My mother, Betty Norman, who has died aged 95, was a paediatrician who gave up medicine to bring up a family in the 1950s. She became a relentless campaigner for children with learning difficulties after the birth of her third son. Thomas was born with Down’s syndrome, and she followed medical advice to send him permanently into residential care at 11 months old.Betty was born to an eminent Dutch lawyer, Willem Bisschop and his wife, May (nee Cowen), a seamstress. Her great-grandfather was one of Napolean’s marshalls, the Dutch general Herman Willem Daendels. Her father left Holland to escape religious austerity and practised at Middle Temple. She was bought up with her sister, Jenny, in Lincoln’s Inn and went to Queen’s college, Harley Street, west London, and then, in 1940 Somerville College, Oxford, to study medicine. Continue reading…

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The Guardian