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Last Updated: Monday, 11 October, 2004, 15:03 GMT 16:03 UK
Reeve was 'inspirational figure'
Christopher Reeve
Actor Reeve supported research
Disabled people and charities in the UK are mourning the loss of Christopher Reeve, and have praised his courage and resolve to get on with his life.

His commitment to finding a cure for paralysis will be carried on by the Christopher Reeve Foundation.

Reeve has become a source of inspiration for thousands of people with spinal injury and general disabilities alike.

Lasting legacy

"His name is going to be associated for many years to come with spinal chord injury," Paul Smith, executive director of the Spinal Injuries Association, told BBC News Online.

"He's been a very positive message for people - he got on with his life and lived it to the full, not only by focussing on research but also by getting back and being an actor, a producer.

"For many, that will probably be the biggest legacy, in the sense that he didn't give in.

Christopher Reeve showed me to have faith and to keep working for what I want
Mike Pickles
News Online reader

Brian Carlin, chief executive of Middlesex-based charity Aspire, which works to create opportunities for people with spinal cord injury, said: "Reeve has been immortalised in the film Superman - there is no question about that.

"But I think that people will remember the fact that he was in an accident that led to one of the highest levels of paralysis possible, and he still survived."

Reeve's foundation would continue to advocate higher levels of funding into research for spinal injury until a cure was found, he added.

Disabled readers were among the thousands of people who sent their tributes to the actor to BBC News Online.

'Taught hope'

Twenty-three year old Mike Pickles, from Hull, East Yorkshire, was born with spinal muscular atrophy - a muscle wasting disease.

He said Christopher Reed had taught him "there is always hope if you try hard enough".

He wanted to study for a BTEC national diploma in performing arts, but was initially refused college places.

"Tutors weren't really interested because of my wheelchair and spoke to my parents rather then me," he told BBC News Online.

But he did not give up and got his diploma before going on to study English literature and language.

"I now go to the theatre and I write my own plays," he said.

"Christopher Reeve showed me to have faith and to keep working for what I want, not to let my disability get in the way nor let anyone else knock me down because of it."




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