REMAP was formed in 1964 by Pat Johnson, a former Royal Engineer working for ICI at their Billingham plant. Pat had a sister who had had infantile polio, which presented her with physical problems in coping with her day-to-day life.
At the time Pat was living in Stockton-on-Tees. His sister lived in Hertfordshire and was confined to a wheelchair, but had upper body movement. Because she was widowed, she relied on her children and neighbours for day-to-day support with her mobility. She even needed help getting her wheelchair down the two front steps to go to the shops.
Pat bought an old black Ford van and repaired it to take a load of scrap timber he had obtained (probably from ICI) down to Hertfordshire. He built a wooden ramp up to his sister’s front door and also installed an electric hoist, with a runway, above the ceiling in the hallway, bathroom and toilet of the bungalow. He was particularly pleased with this as the hoist and track were entirely within the roof space, with only the hoist cable and control pulls projecting through a slot, protected by rubber flaps.
His sister was overjoyed with the ramp and hoist, as they immediately gave her a level of independence she had never enjoyed before. Pat was so impressed with the immense change his relatively simple improvements had made to his sister’s quality of life that he became determined to be the catalyst in bringing similar benefits to others.
The project at his sister’s house was what led him to the concept of Remap and soon other engineers at ICI became involved with his idea and helped it to develop. Remap steadily grew and now covers the whole of the UK.
Major Pat Johnson RE died in September 2002. Thanks to his vision and effort REMAP now helps 4000 people with disabilities each year across the UK We still use inventiveness, experience and often recycled materials to produce innovative solutions to problems so that people can lead a better quality of life.