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Louise Da-Cocodia MBE

1934 - 2008

Determined to combat discrimination after the racism she experienced, Louise became one of Manchester's most important anti-racism campaigners and community activist.

Louise moved to England in 1955 after being invited by the government to train as a nurse in the newly formed NHS.

Hard work and determination saw Louise rise through the ranks to become Assistant Superintendent of District Nurses, Manchester's first Black senior nursing officer. Despite her success, Louise faced discrimination and racism from patients and colleagues alike. 

Sarah Alicia Nisemi Da-Cocodia (Daughter)

"She was a woman of common sense, exceptional practicality and unusual perseverance. She stated that her reasons for becoming involved with the community was to help young Black people understand that this is their home, this is the society they live in, and that they have a part to play in developing it.”

Her experiences fuelled her determination to tackle race equality issues. Louise worked to make Manchester a better place. ​

In the 1960s and 70s, she served on regional Race Relations Board committees, handling complaints brought under brand new discrimination laws. In the 1980s she helped transport victims of the Moss Side riots to hospital and later sat on the Hytner inquiry panel investigating the causes of the unrest. She also researched and published a paper highlighting the effects of racism in nursing.

Louise believed passionately that everyone has the right to access housing, education and employment where they feel safe, secure and fulfilled. 

Her passion lives on in the work of the Louise Da-Cocodia Educational Trust. 

Let me make your acquaintance. My name is Louise DaCocodia!
Few people know me by the name Louise. Instead they prefer to call me Mrs D. If you speak to my close family, friends and peers, it will be apparent that they have much to say about me. Many will use words such as “activist”, “campaigner”, “caring nurse”, “educator”, “leader”, “ambassador” and so on to describe my character.

 

I undertook much work within my community. Many comment that I had my “hands in everything”. Yes, it is true. I became very much involved in many different fields of work. Upon arriving in England, I began working within the NHS and rose up the ranks. I understood that working within the NHS was not my only purpose in life. It was also my duty to: care for, strengthen, educate and uplift. Most importantly, it was my main
goal to empower people within my community. I knew that the power to do great things was within me and I never took a back seat; instead I took action.


When many did not exercise forms of protest, I campaigned. When there was no one who looked like me on the magistrate’s bench, I took a seat and recoloured courtroom drawings. When the teacher was absent, I lead, building educational opportunities upon the foundation of progress. I became the teacher. I dedicated my life to making a real difference. Entering spaces which regularly excluded others like me, I challenged the ruling authority. My work created better opportunities for those of African-Caribbean descent within my community.


My work empowered women.


I am a black woman. I am a Jamaican woman. I am a British woman. It is time for the world to hear my story.
Let me reflect, and start from the beginning…


 (extract from unpublished manuscript by Trishauna Stewart)

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Achievements

​1955

Moved to England from Jamaica to train as a State Registered Nurse at St Olaves Hospital, London

1963

Began her 26 year long career with the NHS (Berkshire County Council) as a midwife and health visitor

1964
Married Edward (Ted) Da-Cocodia from Nigeria

 

1966

Assistant Superintendent of District Nurses, Manchester

 

1968

Birth of Richard Da-Cocodia

 

1973

Birth of Sarah Da-Cocodia

 

1984

Chairperson of the West Indian Organisation Co-ordinating Committee (WIOCC)

 

1989

Associate Consultant at the North West Regional Health Authority Training Division.

 

1990

Nominated to the Manchester Magistrates’ Bench​

 

1995

Received the Manchester Race Award for improving race relations in the city and a member of the General Synod of the Church of England

 

1999

Deputy Lord Lieutenant for Greater Manchester and Member of the Court of the University of Manchester

 

2001

Founding member of Cariocca Education Trust

 

2003

Patron of the Nigerian Women’s Group, Manchester

 

2005

Received an MBE for her tireless services in areas of community and race relations

 

2007

Appointed a Lay Canon by Manchester Cathedral

 

2008

Louise Da-Cocodia Education Trust established in her memory

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