Death of 'people's peer' Baroness Nicky Chapman at 48

YORKSHIRE peer Baroness Nicky Chapman has died, aged 48. Lady Chapman was the first person with a serious congenital disability to be elevated to the Lords.

Born in Leeds with brittle bone disease, she defied doctors who predicted she would be blind, deaf and have "no mental function" to carve out a career and be selected under the People's Peers scheme in 2005.

She was nominated for her peerage by the Habinteg Housing Association, an organisation that provides practical support for those with disabilities, and which she chaired.

She was also chair of the Leeds United Disabled Supporters Organisation (Ludo).

Her friend, Diane Forth, who was also secretary of Ludo, called her "irreplaceable".

Ms Forth said: "She was a very special lady - very determined.

"Nothing was too much trouble for Nicky. She'd do anything for anybody.

"I lost my husband in November and she supported me through it. She was my best friend."