Baroness Masham Cause of death: Baroness Masham, a Paralympian and the House of Lords’ longest-serving female member, died peacefully at the age of 87.
Lady Masham, born Susan Sinclair, won Paralympic medals in swimming and table tennis in 1960, 1964, and 1968 before being made a life peer in 1970.
The well-loved Paralympian spent much of her career campaigning for disability rights.
She sat as a crossbencher and spent a total of 53 years in the House of Lords, more than any other female peer in history.
The Spinal Injuries Association, which she founded in 1974, said it was “devastated to have lost our greatest champion”.
She died peacefully in hospital in Northallerton, Yorkshire, on Sunday, it said.
Lady Masham became a wheelchair user after suffering a spinal cord injury in a riding accident in 1958.
She won a gold medal in the 25m breaststroke at the Paralympic games in Rome two years later, and another in the women’s doubles table tennis in Tokyo two years later.
In the three games she competed in, she won six silver medals and two bronze medals in both sports.
She was the subject of an episode of This Is Your Life in 1976.
She founded the Spinal Injuries Association in response to a lack of specialist care and advice available to newly injured people, and she served as its president until her death.
The association described Lady Masham as “the reason we have been able to champion, fight, serve and support thousands of spinal cord injured people ever since”.
“We are extremely sad to announce that our founder and life-long president, Baroness Sue Masham of Ilton, died peacefully at Northallerton Hospital on Sunday 12 March,” the statement said.
“It goes without saying that everybody at the Spinal Injuries Association (SIA) is devastated to have lost our greatest champion.
“Our condolences go to her family at this sad time.”
While the Paralympics GB website describes Baroness Masham as “one of Great Britain’s first ever Paralympic medallists” and a “pioneering athlete”.