Bookstall owner, Brian Moses, left, with thalidomide campaigner Guy Tweedy and copies of the new book - The Thalidomide Catastrophe
Bookstall owner, Brian Moses, left, with thalidomide campaigner Guy Tweedy and copies of the new book - The Thalidomide Catastrophe

Harrogate book store first independent to stock definitive history of thalidomide scandal

18 May 2018

A Harrogate bookseller has become the first independent retailer in the country to stock and sell a new book devoted to the Thalidomide scandal.

The Bookstall, at Harrogate Railway Station, has done this in support of regular customer and leading Thalidomide campaigner, Guy Tweedy, who is “acknowledged” by the authors of The Thalidomide Catastrophe: How it happened, who was responsible and why the search for justice continues after more than six decades.

Written by Dr Martin Johnson, Raymond Stokes and Tobias Arndt, it is the first comprehensive history of thalidomide, which was developed and manufactured by German pharmaceutical giant, Chemie Grunenthal, in the late 1950s.

Thalidomide was prescribed to pregnant women suffering morning sickness, however it was withdrawn after being linked to crippling side effects in new born babies.



A least 2,000 in the UK were born with deformities brought about directly by thalidomide, and more than half of them died in the womb.

For nearly 20 years, businessman Mr Tweedy, who lives in the town, has worked tirelessly to win compensation and concessions for the hundreds of remaining UK survivors of the “wonder drug”, from both the British and German governments.


Bookstall owner Brian Moses said:

I’ve known Guy for many years and I’m full of admiration for the lengths and efforts he had gone to fighting for thalidomiders. Selling this book is my way of showing support for his ongoing campaign.


Mr Tweedy, who was born with shortened arms and fingers fused together, said:

I’m grateful to Brian for helping to raise the profile of the thalidomide scandal by selling this book.

This is the definitive history of thalidomide, and clearly demonstrates that thousands of victims could have been spared the damage it has done to their bodies, if only the manufacturer had paid heed to the alarm bells that had been ringing for years.

Today, there are just 464 thalidomide survivors left in the UK. More than 100,000 babies died in the womb and thousands died soon after birth.

Thalidomide is the biggest ever man-made scandal and we, as survivors, have had to live the consequences from the day we were born.


In addition to being available at the Bookstore, the book, priced at £11.99, can be purchased on Amazon.



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