Stewart has been connected with DeafVision (Cumbria Deaf Association) for over 30 years – initially as a member of the Board of Trustees, then as Chairman, and now as its President.
He was first employed by the Midland Bank (now HSBC) at various branches in Cumbria and remained with them for ten years, apart from two years’ National Service with the Royal Air Force. At the age of 26 he went to the University of Durham and gained a BA and teaching certificate, then taught at Carlisle Technical College from 1966 – 1974, during which time he spent a year at the London School of Economics where he gained a MSc degree. From 1974 – 1979 he was a lecturer in Social Policy and Administration at Moray House College of Education in Edinburgh.
In 1979 he became Director of a government-financed project administered by the British Deaf Association (then based in Carlisle) to develop the use of Sign Language and establish a Register of Interpreters. The project ended in 1981 and by this time the Council for the Advancement of Communication with Deaf People (CACDP) had been formed. With Stewart as its Chief Executive, it continued the work of the project. CACDP is the National Examining Board in Sign Language and all other methods of communication used by deaf people – including those who are hard of hearing, deafened in later life, and those who are both deaf and blind. He retired at the end of 1999.
Stewart was awarded the OBE in the New Year’s Honours list in 1999 for services to the Council for the Advancement of Communication with Deaf People, and the U.K. Charity Awards ‘Lifetime Achievement Award’ in 2000.
His interest and involvement in deafness has continued as President of DeafVision (Cumbria Deaf Association); Vice President of LINK – the National organisation concerned with those who are deafened as adults; as a patron of the National Association of Deafened People (NADP); and of Deafway – the Deaf Association based in Preston, Lancashire.