Jean Bell obituary

My friend Jean Bell, who has died aged 62, was an artist and craftswoman and a much-loved founding member of the L’Arche community in south London, where 100 people with and without learning disabilities share life together.

Jean was born in Lambeth, south London, to Gladys (nee McLean), a housewife, and Harold Bell, a builder. Her parents had moved to Britain from Jamaica; she was their sixth child and the first to be born in the UK, although there were to be three more girls after her. Jean lived with her family as a baby but, having Down’s syndrome, was placed in care as a young child – such was the way of things for many families in the 1950s.

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