Fred Maillardet: 48 Years with REMAP and Counting - REMAP - Custom made equipment for disabled people
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Fred Maillardet: 48 Years with REMAP and Counting

Fred first became involved with disability in the early 70s through his detailed biomechanical study of muscle actions in the leg during walking which earned him a PhD. During his research Fred became interested in the design of artificial legs – at this time prosthetics were largely made of wood with leather fitting straps and were fashioned by craftsmen from the furniture trades!


By 1976 Fred was leading on the development of good design practice in the Mechanical Engineering Department at the University of Brighton. He was looking for ways to engage students in the identification and solving of real needs and, by coincidence, came across REMAP and saw the opportunity of bringing very real design projects into the Department for students to tackle. This was when he decided to establish the Brighton & District REMAP branch within the Mechanical Engineering Department at the University. Students were invited to take on REMAP projects as a module within the first two years of the course, supported by Fred and his colleagues.

After a few years and with the encouragement of the REMAP Regional Co-ordinator, Fred started to cast the net more widely for volunteer engineers and the membership of the branch grew with more external volunteers becoming involved.


Fred occupied the branch Chairman’s role for most of the time up to 2000, with intermittent periods of service in the chair up until 2015. Whilst continuing to be involved with the Brighton & District branch in 2001, Fred was appointed to the REMAP National Board of Trustees, becoming Vice-Chairman in 2010 and then Chairman in 2016. While in the chair he encouraged the further expansion of REMAP nationally and the provision of more central services.

In 2017 he led the search for a new National Chairman with commercial business experience and, once the successful candidate was in place, Fred stood down from the Board of Trustees. At this point Fred took up positions of responsibility again with the Brighton branch, acting as Publicity Officer and then Engineering Co-ordinator. He was successful in bringing significant funding to the branch through presentations to local associations, and he worked to ensure the appropriate allocation of cases according to volunteers’ skills and experience. His encouragement and support in this ‘mentoring’ role was greatly appreciated by branch colleagues.


In 2021 the Brighton & District branch celebrated its first face-to-face ‘get-together’ after the Covid pandemic at an event to mark Fred’s decision to step back from REMAP and to celebrate his forty-six years of service. Although in the background, Fred continues to attend the occasional branch meeting and is happy to provide support and guidance based on his extensive experience.

Since the inauguration of the Brighton & District branch in 1976, which has now expanded to cover a larger geographical area under the new title of Brighton and Sussex, it has always held its regular case review meetings at the University of Brighton for which the University makes no charge.

Fred’s Recollections

Looking back over his time with REMAP Fred recalls it as a very rewarding experience. He has fond memories of clients’ responses when something had been made to support their independence or to make their lives easier in some way. On some occasions it was the simplest of devices or adaptations that had the most impact; whilst at other times projects were on a larger and more complex scale.

Alongside Fred’s admiration for the skills and ingenuity of the many volunteer engineers he has known and worked with over the years, Fred is particularly pleased that the branch was able to benefit from the input of experienced occupational therapists. He regards their knowledge as invaluable in assessing the validity of referrals and providing guidance on the best ways forward; especially when solutions involved the adaptation of existing or commercially available equipment. Indeed, Fred pressed the importance of every branch having OTs in their membership during his time as a Trustee.

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