Tuesday the 2nd of March

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“We need a respectful, mutual listening, free of ideology and predetermined agendas.” Pope Francis, Let us Dream, December 2020

Lord Alton gives River Island ‘full marks’ as Cora joins campaign

Lord David Alton of Liverpool has given a fashion company “full marks” after a girl with Down’s Syndrome landed her first campaign with the retail giant.

The Catholic life peer has also urged other high street labels to follow suit in an effort to generate a much-needed debate on British laws, which allow the killing of a Down’s baby up to and even during birth.

Cora Bishop, six, is appearing in River Island’s Labels Are For Clothes campaign, which celebrates diversity, with four other children.

“Full marks to River Island and their Labels Are for Clothes campaign,” Lord Alton told The Universe.

“Ninety per cent of people with Down’s Syndrome are systematically eliminated in the UK before birth and those who are allowed to be born are often out of sight and out of mind,” he added.

The life peer revealed that there is “endless talk” about diversity, plurality, discrimination and equality in political circles and called for these principles to be extended to people with Down’s Syndrome at every stage of their lives.

“By choosing six year old Cora Bishop as one of five children to promote their campaign River Island are putting a face and a person to a ‘condition’ and in doing so are asserting the humanity and dignity to which every human being is entitled at every stage of their life,” said Lord Alton.

Cora’s appearance in River Island’s campaign comes only weeks after Lord Alton praised US baby food company Gerber for announcing Lucas Warren – an 18-month-old baby with Down’s Syndrome – as the new face of its brand – the 2018 Gerber Baby.

“These are examples which other high street companies with big advertising budgets should follow,” said Lord Alton.

“In doing this, it helps to create a long overdue debate about British laws which allow the killing of a Down’s baby up to and even during birth as evidenced by the recent Church of England Synod decision to challenge society’s attitudes towards people with Downs,” he added.

Cora, a primary school pupil from Wrexham, Wales, landed the campaign after her mother Sheryl Bishop signed her up to the Zebedee Management agency in Sheffield, which specialises in working with people with disabilities.

You can read more on Lord Alton’s call for society to celebrate all diversity and not exclude its most vulnerable groups in this week’s Universe. To subscribe see:
Print edition: www.thecatholicuniverse.com/shop/catalog/product/view/id/30/s/universe-uk-annual-print-subscription/category/3/
Digital edition: www.thecatholicuniverse.com/shop/subscribe-digital/the-universe-europe.html

Picture: Cora Bishop. (Sheryl Bishop/PA).