Login Register

Sophie is challenged by strangers in Burton for parking in disabled spaces

By Burton Mail  |  Posted: July 24, 2014

Comments (2)

A 32-YEAR-OLD woman living with multiple sclerosis (MS) has spoken of being challenged by complete strangers – for using disabled parking spaces in Burton.

Sophie Lewis, formerly of Branston, was diagnosed with relapsing remitting MS in 2011.

Despite often appearing fine, people with MS can suffer with mobility and balance problems and extreme fatigue among other symptoms.

Miss Lewis said she was often challenged by members of the public when parking in disabled spots because she didn't appear obviously disabled.

She said: "I do look quite healthy. I don't look like I've got anything wrong with me – MS is a hidden illness.

"I've been approached by a lady in Sainsbury's car park in Burton who saw me walk from the shop back to my car and didn't even look at my blue badge. I've also had someone ask my friend what was wrong with me.

"Sometimes I don't park in disabled spots if there are a lot of people at the entrance because I don't want to be challenged for parking there.

"I'm not embarrassed by my illness, but it's frustrating and I shouldn't have to justify it to people."

Unfortunately, Miss Lewis' problem is not uncommon.

Research by the MS Society suggests that more than one in three people with MS in the East Midlands have been challenged by members of the public over parking in disabled bays.

A separate poll by the charity showed more than half of people in the region could not name one symptom of the condition that affects more than 1,370 people in Derbyshire.

Read more from Burton Mail

Do you have something to say? Leave your comment here...

max 4000 characters


  • Ajay3  |  July 29 2014, 7:13PM

    Sophie, I have had the same sort of comments I suffer from M.E. which, like M.S.,isn't an illness that is immediately obvious. As an older person, I'm 51, I just get glares from people who think I have no right to park in a disabled space. A few years ago one of my sons had to borrow my car, so acted as chauffeur for me. He received verbal abuse, when waiting for me; luckily he just thought it was quite funny. My other two children do my grocery shopping for me; I can drive to the supermarket, but not walk round it. They have both been verbally abused whilst loading the shopping into my car. In all these cases the 'abusers' have been retired people who are fitter and healthier than me. It seems that these people think the 'blue badge' scheme is a perk of being retired, not a system to help disabled people. I think that the elderly who use the scheme in this way are as bad as the 'able-bodied' who park in disabled spaces to save them having to walk across the car park. If all of the people who abuse the scheme, or those of us who need the scheme, were disabled in some way, just for one day, I think they would have more understanding of our needs, especially thos which aren't immediately obvious.

  • LadyJ  |  July 24 2014, 9:42PM

    I really feel for Sophie. There are many invisible conditions and not every disability can be seen. I know because I suffer from one but I look okay to other people. I too have put up with stares and comments when I park in a disabled space. You do not have to be in a wheelchair or be elderly to need the spaces. I suggest these nasty people mind their own business and if they haven't got a disability themselves then they should be thankful for that

    |   4