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withinReach Helping children with upper limb differences live life without limits

Issue 135

+ Action packed adventure What’s on at the Family Weekend

The Official Magazine of the Association for Children with Upper Limb Deficiency

Summer 2017

Achieving the dream


Getting your head round ‘difference’

withinReach Please send photographs and stories for withinReach to Jane Garrett, addressed to: The Editor, withinReach, 2 Farmside Cottages, Hound House Road, Shere, Guildford, Surrey GU5 9JG or via email to: Tel: 01483 203237 Mobile: 07884 268594

Inside Issue 135



London Marathon


Getting your head around difference


Reach Activity Week - RAW


Fireman Jack


Branch News


North West Family Weekend


Tyncae’s glorious 20th

Comments, articles, requests, ideas: We welcome comments, articles, requests or suggestions for future editions of Within Reach.


Any letters for publication should include the name and address of the sender, but these can be withheld from publication if requested.


Within Reach has a print run of 1,600 and is distributed to members, subscribers, health services and specialists. If you need to reach this key audience, we would be delighted to consider including your advertisement. Contact Jane Garrett on 01483 203237 The views expressed in this journal are not necessarily those of Reach and are not intended to reflect or constitute Reach policy, or in any way portray an official view.

Reach membership

Membership of Reach is open to parents of children with upper limb deficiency and other individuals of 18 years and over who are interested in furthering the work of the association. Junior membership is given to children who have an upper limb deficiency. The UK subscription is from £36. (£35 if paid by direct debit) You will receive three issues of the magazine a year by post or email if you live overseas.

Reach Insurance

This covers any member aged between 2 and 85 years of age resident in the UK with a congenital deficiency of one upper or lower limb or both upper limbs or who have had one upper or lower limb or both upper limbs or one hand amputated. There is a slight difference in cover for under 16s and those not in paid employment at the time of their accident. Please call Head Office for more details about the schedule of insurance.

SHARED EXPERIENCES National Co-ordinator: Jo Dixon Reach, Pearl Assurance House, Brook Street, Tavistock, PL19 0BN Tel: 0845 130 6225 From a Mobile: 020 3478 0100 Email: Office hours: Monday-Friday 9am-4pm website:

Follow us on twitter: @reachcharity Facebook: Registered charity no. 1134544 withinReach magazine is printed and distributed by NRM at Aldwick Road, Bognor Regis PO21 3QG

This book, published by Reach, is extremely useful for families who have discovered they have, or are about to have, a Reach baby. Shared Experiences is a collection of accounts by Reach families of their own real life experiences of having a child with an upper limb deficiency. Their stories are shocking, saddening, funny, inspiring and captivating. All in all, a brilliant realisation of life with an upper limb deficiency. Contact HO to order your copy.



BRANCH CO-ORDINATORS - THE LINK TO YOUR LOCAL REACH COMMUNITY This is such an important role, bringing local families together for support and shared fun and we now have vacancies in ESSEX/HERTS, SOUTH AND WEST YORKSHIRE AND NORTH LONDON. Please give it a go. It doesn’t have to be a headache! And you don’t need to do it alone! Volunteer with a friend. You will receive lots of support from HO. Give Jo or Abby a call to discuss it on 0845 130 6225 or from a mobile: 020 3478 0100

WELCOME TO OUR SUMMER ISSUE NATIONAL COORDINATOR I have just returned from the Lake District where I have met some fabulous Reach children and their families. The North West Family Activity Weekend was a resounding success and we are already planning more such events for 2018.

Be quick - this fund has a limited life span

This is a great opportunity for Reach members needing adaptions or prosthetics. Limb centres around the UK are now able to apply for funding of children’s sports and activity limbs.

The whole weekend was action packed, and we were all challenged somewhat - whether it was plunging into freezing water, climbing, abseiling or canoeing - there were No LIMITS this weekend. We had time to chat as families, parents, grandparents, siblings and Reach children. The value of Reach children spending time together, enjoying themselves and seeing how each other tackle problems is hard to quantify but I have a lasting memory of teenage boys showing the way for the younger ones, and four little girls sitting on the floor at a colouring table contentedly chatting away - all with a limb difference. I know this sounds a little mundane, but they were so comfortable in the company of others like them and it really illustrated how friendships were made.



We are now in the full throes of Family Weekend and AGM 2017 planning and bookings are flooding in - please use the booking form on the website and give us a call if you have unanswered questions. We are planning a social media ‘splurge’ to introduce our speakers and workshops over the coming weeks so please ‘like’ our Facebook page and follow/share the news as it breaks! reachcharity MAKE SOME NOISE DAY happens on 5th October and we are so excited that Reach is a recipient charity this year. I have just been on the first of two masterclasses at Globals HQ in Leicester Square and met some other inspiring charities. I cannot wait for the next stage including interviews with parents and children who have benefited from our work - all in the hope that we tug on some heart strings to raise as much as we can on MSN Day for sharing with all 30 beneficiary charities. This opportunity is HUGE for Reach and we are really hopeful that our share can be used to deliver some new projects we have been planning for a while. So - get listening to Heart, Classic, Capital, LBC, Smooth, Gold or Xmusic in September and see if you can spot the Reach material and encourage all your contacts to be part of this fundraising phenomenon. Jo Dixon

The funding was launched in 2016 and includes a £750k provision for new sports prosthetics for children on the NHS. Limb centres can now apply for the funding, and clinicians will work with patients who are eligible for the funding. Whether it is being able to play outdoors on the monkey bars or scooter, take part in competitive sport or just to blend in with friends at school, for many children this will open up a lot of new and exciting opportunities. What is available? There are off-the-shelf, as well as bespoke options for upper limb prosthetics, suitable for activities such as cycling, gymnastics, racquet and bat sports. It’s worth making contact and asking questions. Applying for funding NHS Limb centres in England may request funds for an individual’s prosthetic that they have prescribed, up to the value of £5000 for each limb (including all the associated costs of the new limb, such as a new socket). Limb Power will be overseeing the distribution of the paediatric limb fund and will be contacting all limb centres shortly to advise on the eligibility criteria and correct procedure for application of funds. LimbPower has been working closely with the Department of Health in administrating the fund and to facilitate the application and invoicing procedure to make it as easy and quick as possible for all Limb Centres. To find out more about The Children’s Activity Prosthetic Fund contact Carly Bauert

OPUS - THERE TO SUPPORT YOU OPUS, Orthotic & Prosthetic Users Stanmore, is a voluntary user group working alongside the Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital Trust to provide an effective forum for all RNOH Orthotic and Prosthetic Department users, as well as their families and carers. OPUS aims to establish a network of peer support and a positive working relationship between users, centre clinicians and the Trust, providing opportunities for feedback, voicing concerns and sharing ideas. OPUS is open to all patients and their family, friends and carers. Email to be added to their mailing list or join on Facebook For more information check out their Website:

CHAIRMAN’S REPORT As I write this report, 32 young Reach members will be arriving at Thirsk for the 18th annual Reach Activity Week, one of the flagship events in the Reach calendar. The activity week is a fantastic opportunity for young members to learn from one another, share experiences and make friendships that will last a lifetime. The reason it maintains its popularity is because it reflects the values of our charity - the stories that come back from the week are full of positivity, achievement and of course, living life without limits. The board recognise the importance of these opportunities for our members to connect, whether it be RAW, the AGM or at the many regional events our branch co-ordinators facilitate. More recently we have looked to increase these opportunities by following the lead of our Scotland branch and creating smaller ‘activity weekends’. Earlier in the Summer our North West members hosted their first regional activity weekend at Patterdale Hall in the Lake District which was a roaring success, a special thank you to Cheryl Danson and Jane Crook for arranging and helping to raise funds. We hope to follow on from Scotland and the North West to host similar events in 2018 in the Midlands and the South East. The feedback we are getting is that these events provide a great opportunity for children of all ages to learn and mentor, parents to share experiences and importantly, everyone to have a great time....all at a very affordable price! In order to launch these events and keep the price as low as possible, we rely on the fundraising support of our members and supporters. Please do keep up the great work in supporting our charity and in return we as the board will continue to look for ways to invest and improve our events and services.

Reach Board Lee Gwilliam Chairman 9 Ashengate Way Uckfield, East Sussex TN22 3EX Tel : 07971 170922 email: Gary Phillips 2 Walden Cottages, Westwood Lane, Normandy, Guildford, GU3 2JB Tel: 07044 080140 email: Siân Brooks 15 Paullet, Sampford Peverell, Nr Tiverton, Devon Tel: 01884 820223 email: Julie Detheridge 20 Brunswick Road Earlsdon, Coventry, CVI1 3EX Tel: 02476 251185 email: Chris Fuoco 20 Cornlands Sampford Peverell Tiverton Devon EX16 7UA Tel: 07771612414 email: Ruth Lester 18 Church Road, Edgbaston, Birmingham

B15 3TA Tel: 07747 867460 email: Alan Meneghetti Golden Cottage Lower Froyle Alton GU34 4LS Tel: 07900 408060 email: Kevin Moyes 12 Lady Housty Newton Swansea, SA3 4TS Tel: 07834353877 email: Ed Pearce 9 Fraser Close, Laindon Basildon, Essex SS15 6SU Tel: 07772 543949 email: Phil Robertson 126 Ash Lodge Drive Ash, Hampshire GU12 6NR Tel: 07973 363014 email: Elizabeth Wilmshurst 94 Victoria Mount, Horsforth, Leeds, LS18 4PZ Tel: 07852 371075. email:

Thank you for your support, I hope you all have a great Summer and I look forward to sharing more good news with you at the AGM in October. Lee Gwilliam

REACH BURSARIES Reach bursaries are available to help support a Reach child to fulfil their potential in any way, through sport, music, mobility or adventure. Typically they are awarded to members to help pay for expensive items like car adaptations, to enable them to learn to drive. Bursaries have also been given to help pay for sports training including paraclimbing and snow-boarding. Anna Dixon received a bursary of £80 in January for an adaptation to an electric racing car. She is a member of Collingwood College, Camberley’s electric vehicle racing team Status Racing. The team does endurance racing using electric cars designed and built by the students and they compete against other schools, being ranked 8th out of 250 worldwide. Anna was unable to drive the car as its brake was on the

left with a twist throttle on the right. She couldn’t operate the throttle and brake with only one hand and steer at the same time. The bursary has enabled the car to be fitted with a removable foot throttle so that Anna can race the car. To qualify for a bursary, Reach members must have been with the charity for at least a year and be aged 25 or under. The aim is to ensure no young person misses out for lack of money at a crucial stage in their development. So if a small grant would help you, please get in touch or download an application form from the website.


NEED TO KNOW GLOBAL’S TARGET FOR REACH The Global’s Make Some Noise (GMSN) Grants Panel is hoping to raise £30,000 for Reach. GLOBAL are the radio station group who own Classic FM, Capital, LBC, Gold, Heart and a few smaller ones, so they have a huge coverage across the whole of the UK plus a massive team to support the campaign. Jo Dixon wrote the bid and submitted it at the end of January (with a bit of help number crunching with Phil Robertson, thanks!). The £30,000 would go towards the Family Activity Weekends project for one year, including the Mentor Training project; providing a venue and instructor for Reach Activity Week and contribute to venue costs for at least two Family Activity Weekends. The campaign spends the year raising as much money as possible to hit this aspirational amount, though it cannot be guaranteed. However to date they have always met all of the aspirational amounts and regularly exceeded them.


The fundraising campaign operates UKwide and the money raised is counted collectively for all of the charities that they are working with. Our grant will be raised throughout 2017, and Reach will start receiving it from April 2018. GMSN are also offering to help the charities develop the tools and knowledge needed to give interviews, put together case studies, create engaging social media posts, report on impact and market the charity. And they are offering us the chance to send one person from Reach to Global HQ in London to take part in the Global’s Make Some Noise Masterclasses. Global supports “brilliant, small charities across the UK, which help youngsters and their families living with illness, disability or lack of opportunity. These charities struggle to get heard, so we unite some of the biggest radio stations in the UK and their listeners, to give them a voice and raise money to support their amazing work. “Since our launch in 2014, we’ve raised nearly £7 million, and supported 135 incredible charities and projects around the UK, helping them to provide life-changing support and vital services, that otherwise simply might not be available. By joining us to make some noise, you can help small charities have a big impact. “Every year, we award grants to specially selected projects across the UK, which do life-changing work in their local communities to support youngsters and their families living with illness, disability or lack of opportunity. In 2017, we gave out £2.2million in grants to small charities, which will help provide over 92,000 hours of support to almost 15,000 children and young people over the next two years.”

THE BIG FIX SEEKS NEW CHALLENGES Do you remember watching Reach member Oscar Fradgley having a bicycle designed specially for him by a team of inventors in the TV programme The Big Fix? Production company Studio Lambert is looking for fresh challenges for a second series. “We are again looking for more people who feel they could benefit from a tailor-made invention. We are looking for individuals who can’t do something which we believe everyone should have the opportunity to do (like being able to write your own name). “We also want to include stories about people whose condition or situation prevents them from doing something they love or used to love doing (like riding a bike). Essentially, we’re looking to help anyone who thinks their life (or someone’s they know) could be improved by our brilliant team of engineers and inventors. Email us at All emails are treated in the strictest of confidence. Alternatively, a short contact form can be filled out here to express interest in the show:


OCT 20-22

ATTHE BRISTOL MARRIOTT If you have not been to the Reach Family Weekend before, here is an idea of what it involves. It brings together ALL the important component parts of Reach: professional advice, peer group support, amazing activities for children, inspirational and informative speakers, plus the opportunity for parents and family members to swap experiences and learn from each other and for Reach children to forge friendships in a safe and supportive environment. It is UTTERLY BRILLIANT. This year the Family Weekend is back at the Bristol City Centre Marriott Hotel from October 20th to 22nd. Saturday is action packed, but Friday night and Sunday morning are also important. These are the times for fun and chat as families cement friendships in the bar and over coffee. You will also be able to meet our new trustee Ruth Lester, a retired plastic surgeon at Birmingham Children’s Hospital. Our line-up of speakers is first rate, including Paralympian athlete Claire Cashmore, Triple World Champion Hollie Arnold, Joel Gibbard of Open Bionics and Orla Duncan, a nurse practitioner specialising in psychology at The Royal Hospital for Sick Children in Edinburgh. Workshops include 3D hand making, one-handed musical instruments and what a coup for Reach! Work schedule permitting, drama workshops with the new star of Coronation Street, Melissa Johns (see her story on pages 10-11.)

OUR 2017 MARATHON HEROES Chairman Lee Gwilliam showed true grit as he completed the marathon despite a broken toe. Ok his time of 4hr 20 mins was a bit over his target ...but.... “Unfortunately the toe began to hurt at the four mile mark and by mile 16 was agony,” he said, “Having said that, I thoroughly enjoyed the day and felt fantastic crossing the line! Fingers crossed, ! will run a faster time later this year. Donations are set to exceed £2,000.” Richard Cade said: “Well the marathon was tough. I use a GPS watch so my time was 3:22:28. I still have a few sponsors rolling in so hoping I can get to £3,500. I might consider doing it again next year, but in fancy dress, might get more money that way lol.” Gemma Pedlar ran the London Marathon and the St Albans half marathon. “I was proud to wear my orange Reach vest,” she said. “So far, not including gift aid, I’ve raised £1,490 so I’m hoping to get over £1,500.”

And it’s great to see young Reach members taking on the role of mentor to the younger ones. So on Sunday, Bouldering at BLOC with be with our international Paraclimbing star, Matthew Phillips. (You need to make your own way there.) The minimum age for instructed bouldering session is 6 years and places must be pre-booked with us, so if your children are interested please call HO. For more information about bouldering please see So far, the exhibitors include Open Bionics - open hand project; OHMI, Douglas Bader Foundation; Ottobock; Steeper; Meningitis NOW; Team Unlimbited; Bristol Limb Centre specialists and Closomat. Sue Kent, the amazing foot masseuse featured in the Spring issue of Within Reach, will be demonstrating her Massage by Feet. Come and try it out! We are planning some different workshop sessions in the afternoon for all agesl. The Football Academy will be running once again and older children will go to Youn Bristol Activity Centre. Freedom childcare have some great activities lined up for the younger ones in the hotels too. If you are a current member with a limb difference Saturday events whether it is the conference, exhibition or childrens activities are FREE and there is no charge for any member to attend the AGM session only.

PS: Don’t forget the special Welsh Dragon Dinner Dance

Katherine Manderfield said: “I absolutely loved running the marathon for Reach! It was my first one and I got around just over 5 hrs (although my iPhone app tells me I actually ran 27.5 miles!). So far I’ve raised £3,128.” With the additional sponsorship of runners Ed Waldron and Alex Reed, the overall fundraising total should come to over £12,000.



GETTING YOUR HEAD AROUND Hearing your 7yr old tell you he wishes he had never been created because of his disability is heart breaking! Any suggestions how to help him mentally?

Coping with the psychological impact of being, or having, a ‘Reach child’ Having a limb difference does not end with the physical inconvenience of living life with one or no hands. It has profound mental effects too, not just for the person involved, but for their parents and families. The whole family needs support, and this is what Reach was set up to help provide. The anguish behind the requests for reassurance and advice in the closed facebook group is clear. The issues raised range from medical procedures to advice on how to tackle discrimination, bullying, loss of self confidence, ignorance and anger. It is hard enough raising children or going through those angst-ridden teenage years anyway, but when you have a limb difference, everything is magnified. The crucial step is to seek help. Help is there and it will make all the difference. We know that Reach children grow up into phenomenal adults bursting with personality. The journey to that point though can be an agonising rollercoaster.

BOOKS THAT HELP CHILDREN ACCEPT DIFFERENCE The new term looms and for many this means either starting school for the first time or moving from one school to the next. Ysanne Brown said her little girl’s preschool teacher reported that the books she had lent the preschool had worked really well to help the other children understand ‘differences’ - “not that they had to use them very often but when they did they had the desired effect! The new school has asked if they can have them too!”


Ann Byers said Chops and Different are “awesome and were regulars in Francesca’s nursery bag in the first few weeks and the teacher asked if they could keep them a bit longer.“ Jo Dixon said she is often asked for books which parents and children can read in school or at home depicting children with limb difference. A very popular book is Little Miss Jessica Goes to School by Australian Jessica Smith. It follows Jessica on her first day at school where she experiences what it is like to feel different because of her appearance, but by the end of her first day, Jessica and all the other students in her class realise that being different is OK! Her website has sold out of the book. She suggested that if people want to buy the book that it can be purchased as an ebook through Amazon. Jo is also often asked by parents how they can prepare their child for up-coming surgery. This Cbeebies resources is an excellent guide - it doesnt matter what their procedure is:…/grownups/get-well-soon-hospital.

Our son has had a tricky few months at school due to a number of incidents. We are left frustrated and him upset as we don’t feel the school are doing enough to support him (they say “he’s fine” and “he just gets on with it” but he is clearly not). What support/help do others receive from their schools ? Changing Faces is not just about faces! This UK charity supports and represents children, young people and adults who look different. That may apply to the face, hands or body, whether present from birth or caused by accident, injury, illness or medical episode. It also supports the families of under 25s. Changing Faces launched in 1992 to help people find a way to live the life they want. Based in London with a second centre in Sheffield, it offers: 12 free, confidential, sessions of short-term psycho-social support (akin to counselling), advice and information, for appearance-related concerns. Donations are welcomed. Changing Faces Practitioners assess each client to determine whether our service is suitable and if sessions will be heldface-to-face, via telephone, email and/or skype. Face-to-face sessions take place at our central London office or at our Sheffield Centre for people in Yorkshire & the Humber. We can work with a client’s school to find solutions, when issues such as bullying are identified. To book an appointment, write a letter of referral to Changing Faces at The Squire Centre, 33-37 University Street, London WC1E 6JN, or telephone and make a verbal referral via Freephone 0300 012 0275 or by emailing support@changingfaces.

LO BEING DIFFERENT A PROFESSIONAL PERSPECTIVE Orla Duncan is a Nurse Practitioner in paediatric psychology at the Royal Hospital for Sick Children in Edinburgh. She will be one of our speakers at the Reach Family Weekend in Bristol in October. Come and meet her there. “I have been working as a nurse practitioner with children with appearance related concerns, as part of both the paediatric psychology and liaison service and plastic surgery team at the Royal Hospital for Sick Children in Edinburgh since 2012. For many years before that, I worked as a paediatric nurse in the plastic surgery department at the hospital, latterly as a nurse specialist. My interest has always been in the long term psychosocial outcomes for children with visible differences, wherever on the body that difference may be. “I work closely with our Consultant Hand Surgeon Mr Wee Lam and Specialist Hand Physiotherapist Anne Jerman. The main difficulties that I am asked for help with, when a baby is initially referred to our service, are talking to friends and family about their child with an upper limb difference and worries about how their baby will cope in the future, specifically in relation to their concerns about the possibility of their child being teased. “We talk about how any child can be teased about anything from their hair colour to the clothes they wear or appearance differences. It is really important that their child has support

LIMBPOWER SPORTING EVENTS LimbPower launched a new series of have-a-go sport events for people with limb impairments this year. The three new multi-sport events take place in Twickenham, Birmingham and Sheffield. The have-a-go events support the charity’s ongoing work to increase the number of activity opportunities for people with limb impairments in the UK. Open to all ages and abilities, each event provides a relaxed, friendly and supportive environment for people to try a range of different sports and activities - including athletics, archery, badminton, climbing, cycling, football, golf, Nordic walking, sailing, sitting volleyball, tennis and wheelchair basketball. They are proudly supported by Douglas Bader Foundation, Leigh Day & Co Solicitors, OttoBock, Dorset Orthopaedic and Axis (powered by Ottobock). Some West Midlands Reach families attended one of the days. It was amazing! The children ( and adults in some cases) got to try various exciting activities. They rock climbed, cave crawled, played sit down volley ball, athletics, football, snooker, rowing and topped off the day with wheelchair basket ball! “We met some fabulous families and spent time with some truly inspirational people. Highly recommended! The Reach stand went down well and Limb Power were thrilled that we attended.”

to build their resilience and knows how to respond and have the confidence to tell their parent and teacher if they are being teased. “As they grow, children can sometimes struggle with being stared at or having to manage frequent questions about their upper limb. I work with them to help them to choose strategies that they are comfortable with, to manage potentially challenging situations. “For example, having a very short answer if someone asks about their upper limb then moving the conversation on to another topic is a very simple but effective way for a young child to feel in control when they are asked what may seem an intrusive question. “ I guide parents and children to the excellent REACH website, as sharing experiences and seeing positive role models can be very valuable for families. “I also work with school staff, always with the child and family’s permission, when a child is feeling that they need more support at school or if the school asks for guidance in managing teasing or bullying about appearance differences. “I see so many young people who are growing into confident young adults, happy that they are achieving their goals. That is the best part of my job.”

Our son needed some support and his doctor from St. Georges Hospital indicated occupational therapy and a psychologist for two months and also special support from school. He is doing really well, talking more about his feelings and is very proud of his body. LimbPower is hosting its second Junior Games this summer at Stoke Mandeville Stadium, Aylesbury on 30th September. Entry and Payment forms are available on the LimbPower website. Please return to LimbPower by 8th September. Entry costs £10. The Junior Games are open to young people aged 5-18 with a physical impairment. The games provide your child with the opportunity to receive coaching in a number of sports. Siblings of participants are welcome ties. Please complete a registration form for each sibling who is attending.


GETTING YOUR HEAD AROUND MEET THE NEW CORRIE STAR - MELISSA JOHNS Coronation Street has a new star! Professional actress Melissa Johns, 27, born with a little arm, is demonstrating the Reach ethos of ability and achievement to millions of television viewers across the country every week. Melissa is confident, sassy and has a great sense of humour. She is also a campaigner for disability rights. “For me, it's about experiencing situations differently to people without disabilities and therefore having a different take on the world. It's about showing that talented disabled performers can be raw, gritty, vulnerable, beautiful, sexy, real and it coming from a very personal and unique place, so it’s not a disadvantage. It's an ability to see things from a completely different angle and take on characters in a different way.” Melissa’s talent was spotted early. She was accepted into drama school at her first attempt - usually it take two or three


MY ARM BROKE MY MUM’S HEART “My parents had no idea about Reach. We had to find things out as we went along and there was not any support. We didn’t even know we could get any financial support. We lived in Ledbury on the Welsh border and my parents struggled. “Nothing had shown up on the scan. When I was born the nurses took me away and didn’t even tell my parents if I was a girl or a boy. My dad thought something was up and asked if everything was ok and they said you have a perfectly healthy baby girl but half an hour later told him there was a problem. They took me home and my mum couldn’t deal with it. My arm broke her heart. “She couldn’t look at my arm or come to terms with it and I was her first baby and my mum was just 25 and they just wanted everything to be perfect. “She said the only way she could come to terms with it was to wrap me up in a blanket and try to touch my arm every so often without looking at it. She could not look at it. My dad was fine with it but there was no support for my mum whatsoever. If she had had someone to talk to and met other babies it would have made such a difference. “I can’t imagine what it was like with no one to talk to. Word got around our community very quickly and people wanted to see my arm to see if the rumours were true. It must have been a really really lonely time for my mum. She didn’t get her head round it. She always said she was overwhelmed by all the things I would not be able to do when she saw the Argos catalogue showing children using both hands to ride bikes. “She never wrapped me in cotton wool though and I was always thrown in to the deep end but she was heart broken and had no-one to turn to.”

goes to get in and she has already had roles in The Interceptor, Doctors, Casualty and the legal drama Silk. Last year she attended the Disability Confident Conference at Corrie that was organised by actress Cherylee Houston who plays Izzy and the show’s producers to help change the status and representation of disability on television. “I campaign for a breakthrough in disability in acting,” said Melissa. “TV has a responsibility. It is in living rooms five or six nights a week and should reflect the changes we need in society. I run drama and theatre based workshops for people with disabilities in Manchester. I have always been a workshop leader and with my brother we run Quite Frankly Theatre. I’m so grateful for the Coronation Street role. I can’t quite believe it has happened and I am so so grateful!”

A JOURNEY FROM MISERY TO FREEDOM Confident? Successful? Well not always. In fact not until very recently. And the sadness of her story is that Melissa and her family struggled through without the support of Reach, which would have made all the difference to their lives. “I went through a huge struggle for years and years,” said Melissa, “But I never let on how much of a struggle it was. Even when it was hot, I wore huge long-sleeved jumpers because I didn’t dare let people see my arm and in photos I always faced the camera so my arm was hidden. People I know on social media had no idea. “Growing up I had a horrific time. In school when I was younger I didn’t care so much but when I was nine things changed. People stared and laughed and kids said stuff and that changed my life. I was perpetually drained and tired. For 16 years I hid this part of my body for fear of acceptance and fear of being judged and feeling like I was bloody disgusting. “I had always wanted to be an actor. It’s amazing as when you perform you are not you Classic Melissa cardigan but I still made sure my body pose hiding her little arm was twisted so people could not see my arm. I wanted people to think of me as an actor not as someone with one arm. “My trade mark security blanket was a cardigan draped over my little arm. At drama school I had a difficult time as it strips you back to your first memories. Mental health issues are common at drama school as many people can’t cope. It is a torture but it makes you a stronger person. I was the only one with a disability and those three years were incredible. They said your arm is your goldmine: your niche is the girl next door with a twist because of my different experience. “From the age of 16 to about 20 I was sick after meals because I hated everything about my body and was terrified of being fat and disabled. From anxiety I would throw up every half hour from midnight to 5am. It was horrendous. My mum

LO BEING DIFFERENT took me to the doctors and the doctor said ‘if I told you you were not fat, would you believe it?’ I said ‘yes, yes, ok’ and gradually I began to get better. I just thought it was me being ridiculous. I am a very controlled person so even in the darkest times I never let it get in the way of my acting. Because of my arm I tried to overcompensate by being perfect in everything else. “What changed my life around was when a fitness worker introduced me to Pound Rockout, an American workout and I fell in love with fitness. I used to love dance but gave up as I wasn’t allowed to do exams and I gave up gym as I didn’t like people staring. But I signed up to Pound Rockout’s month-long challenge Highway to Well last May, which is a challenge to change yourself. “I knew I was going to use this to start to embrace the body I had been given. I was so so tired of hiding things, all the deception and fear of discovery. I used the month to post photos of myself and the support I got was unbelievable and I started to go to the gym again. By the end of the challenge I was crowned winner and got a trip to Los Angeles with my brother Jason.

What a difference! Melissa confident with her body

“Up until very very recently, any girl I saw I thought was a sparkly perfectly-cut gem, while I was a grey stone, a pebble. Only recently have I started to work on not being like that. Hiding my arm had become an art and I was a master at it – I had to tell my boyfriend on our third date!

“I wanted to go to the rugby dinner and dance without a cardigan on my arm and at the end of May last year I had the most wonderful night. I still had to go to the toilet to have a word with myself because of the awful thoughts flooding into my head but I danced free in a beautiful dress. I preach to other girls all the time about how people are amazing and beautiful but I wasn’t practising what I preached. Now I do.”


ANOUSHÉ CAMPAIGNS AGAINST DISCRIMINATION Anoushé Husain was born missing her right arm below the elbow. She also has multiple health conditions, is a cancer survivor, a Muslim and comes from an ethnic minority. She is committed to tackling discrimination and is an active campaigner. Below are excerpts from a longer article. “Awkward questions might be trying at times but they are generally harmless and asked with the best of intentions,” she said. “With that in mind, I keep a smile on my face and encourage people around me to feel comfortable asking. Why? I want to help bridge the gaps that seem to have built up between all of these different groups and boxes. At the end of the day, we are all human. “Discrimination is a whole other matter and it’s against the law. Unfortunately as a twelve-year old, I was too young and vulnerable to recognise it, speak about it and take action. Here’s a basic definition of discrimination I found. I’m restricting the definition to disability only in this instance though discrimination can happen to anyone with any form of protected characteristic. “Discrimination is when you are treated less well or put at a disadvantage for a reason that relates to your disability. The treatment could be a one-off action, the application of a rule or policy or the existence of physical or communication barriers which make access difficult or impossible. The discrimination does not have to be intentional for it to be considered to be discrimination. Discrimination, inadvertent or intentional can break a person.

I was too young to understand I was being discriminated against at the time and believed it was too late by the time I realised. I was afraid I was the one being over sensitive. I didn’t want to cause a fuss. I could have and should have spoken about it earlier but I was afraid of the impact it would have on myself, on others and on my ability to do karate. “Whether you are an adult thinking you are facing discrimination or you know a child who might be. Speak up. If it’s not discrimination, then at least you can be at peace of mind. If it is, you will have stopped the undue suffering of yourself or others.”

FUNKY FUNDRAISING FIESTA! stunning generosity

The Wednesday Mixed Darts Charity League raised £750. Reach member Oscar Wilson’s grandmother, Irene, raised £377.47 in donations from her colleagues at Seatec UK Ltd in Glasgow, for Dress Down Friday. Abigail Owen, through Sian Mitchell in South Wales, ran Phoenix Card Parties over the last year and raised £118.18. Clare Harper donated £25 in lieu of payment for an outgrown one-handed scooter. Samuel Harper raised £160 doing a Santa run in London. Shabana Mohammed has donated £20 every month since March, thanking us for all we do for her nephew Aayan. Gemma & Neil Lonnon organised a charity race night, received a donation from her dad’s company Denso and raised a total of £1,267.55. James and Hayley Bailey donated £15 as a thank you to Reach. Alan and Beatrice Taylor, Marla Trigwell’s great grandparents, donated £50 towards Joanne Taylor’s summer party. Wilfred Manderville’s school, Rupert House School, raised £846 from a cake sale. Olympian Claire Cashmore spoke to the Lodge of Warwickshire Installed Masters, and a collection raised £1,400.


Members of the EMANAY School of Dancing in Newcastle donated £89.58 from the money raised in their Christmas Raffle. Reach was nominated to receive the money by Gillian Crow. Used Stamp Collector Dave Haughton from Haverfordwest donated £50 from his latest used stamp appeal. A variety of fundraising events at Icknield Walk First School raised a total of £1,002.80.

bought cakes books and raffle and tombola tickets, while enjoying a two course lunch. Heather was helped by grandsons Jack and Toby Eden and their mum. The boys “are very good at getting people to part with their money,” she said. P M Stagg from Bognor Regis donated £20 in memory of her friend Jean Churchill, grandmother of Reach member Jenny. Tulip Ltd in Bodmin donated the entry fees for their quiz night.

and random acts of kindness

Reach member Thomas Cowlin’s grandfather Alan told a young man who was collecting for the Royal British Legion about Reach and he fished in his pocket and donated £5 in change! A family raising money for their baby son, who needed a special helmet to correct the shape of his head, exceeded their target and donated the £680 excess to Reach Scottish Branch after hearing about Daniel Tennant and the support that Reach provides. Reach member Sarah Reid’s mum Shona donated £100. “I recently gave away a wheelchair which had belonged to my mum who sadly passed away five years ago,” she said. “It had been lying in my garage doing nothing hence I was giving it away. The lady who came to collect it was insistent that she would like to give me something in return and asked if I had a charity that she could donate some money to.” Shona nominated Reach. A freak accident left Bev Maxwell without her left thumb and her experience of life without a pincer grip inspired her to ask for donations to Reach in lieu of presents for her wedding with Jonathon Maston. They are close to their £2,000 target.

TOUGHER CHALLENGE FOR CALUM Calum McLeod cycled around Arran again this year in a figure of eight to make it a bit tougher before climbing Goat Fell. “It went well,” he said. “Legs were a bit sore for the couple of days after though! Fundraising now stands at £500.”

Martin Luther Kirche in Newcastle collected £157.52 for Reach Yorkshire Branch. Bob and June Oakley donated their £100 prize money for winning their bowls league. Benny Romberg and friends organised a cake sale at Christ Church C of E Primary School in Surbiton and raised £406.45. Heather Snelling’s seventh annual garden party in Meopham, Kent, raised a total of £1,220. The sun shone and 67 people

COFFEE MORNING RAISED £1,100 Acle Indoor Bowls Club raised £1,100 at a coffee morning in February and presented the cheque to Zak Artherton-Howlet and his mum Louise.

CHANCE SPORTING ENCOUNTER Paralympian Claire Cashmore was delighted when she bumped into a fellow Reach member Freddy at Eton Dorney Triathlon.

SPOT THOSE REACH VESTS! TWO CASTLES 10K Matthew Codd and Sue Algar completed the Two Castles 10k proudly sporting their Reach running vests.

SCOTLAND TO CANNOCK Geoff Chilton’s brother Darren and his friend Peanut have just finished their ride from Scotland to Cannock, trying to raise £1000 for Reach. They were battered, sun burnt and soaked but carried on until the finish. Well done!

Matthew ran 44.41mins and Sue “a more modest 58.08mins!”

A FIRST FOR NICOLA Nicola Romberg, South London coordinator, successfully ran her first ever 10k at the London Vitality. There was no pausing for a walk to catch breath. “I ran all the way through! Personal goal achieved! Love my medal!” she said. “Great sponsorship for REACH so far!”

THE SLOG ON THE TYNE Tony Addison has finished the ‘Slog on the Tyne’ Gateshead 10k and raised around £1,200 so far for Reach.



GOLF DAY WAS INTENSIVE FUNDRAISING Claire and James Turner organised a Golf Day that raised a massive £3,282.05! It teed off at 6.30am for breakfast and a nine hole scramble before heading back to the club house for bacon rolls. The groups then went for an 18 hole stableford. Money was raised thoughout the day on the bunkers and ‘beat the pro’. There was an option of an evening meal followed by the trophy presentations with an auction which included signed football and dart shirts, and four balls at various golf clubs. in addition to this there was a cake sale and a raffle The night ended with a disco.


Meghan Willis has just been classified for para swimming. She had to travel all the way from South Wales to Sunderland but it was worth the trip! She will now be swimming as an S9, SB9 and SM9 para swimmer. We are so proud and so excited for the future! Reach kids absolutely Rock! Meghan is particularly excited at the prospect of meeting her hero Claire Cashmore at the Family Weekend in October!

Jonathan Seed and Kris Reed have survived the Yorkshire Tough Mudder with no harm done and raised £1,477 so far.

RAW 2017

Jake had an amazing time! Thank you to you al “This was my 3rd year as a mentor,” said Tony Addison, “And it just keeps getting better. From climbing and abseiling bizarrely shaped rocks and boulders formed in the last ice age, to throwing axes at Zombies and eating Tarantulas, activities were both exciting and challenging. Don’t worry, no Zombies were hurt during this exercise, not with my throwing anyway. “For me, RAW 2017 was incredibly successful on a few levels. The initial focus of the week was to provide Reach members with a safe platform to push themselves out of their comfort zones and learn new things in a safe environment (if you’re reading this you all did amazingly and you can be very proud of yourselves.)


Samuel got home with a head full of memories

“Each activity created a different set of challenges, some more physical – climbing caving and gorge walking, some more mental – the ‘leap of faith’, abseiling and the zip wire, and some more focused on leadership and communication – raft building, canoeing and problem solving. “On each occasion, it also gave opportunities for Reach members to develop important soft skills – bravery and self-motivation when scared; resilience and determination when presented with a difficult challenge; and empathy, teamwork and leadership when others were nervous or needed help. “These are key transferable skills that will last a lifetime and will certainly help in a professional environment when you are older. Having a positive ‘can do’ attitude always helps too. “The other and possibly more important side of RAW is that it creates an environment that allows for new and lasting friendships to be made. These friendships allow each member to know that they are not alone in the big wide world. As a famous telecommunication company once said “it’s good to talk” and sometimes you can only get the moral support and advice you need from your peers. “This took place during the day or within the more informal evening activities. From taking part in full length football and rounders games to playing cricket, egg drop, sardines or camouflage, there was something for every-

RAW 2017

Syd had a fab time it’s been the highlight of her year

one. The ‘surprise’ disco was a fantastic way to sign off the week too. Ps- we have some serious football players on our hands! “From a personal point of view, I loved my time on RAW - I always do, and it was a privilege to be a part of mentoring such a lovely and inspirational group. You all had your own journeys and challenges to overcome and it was great to watch and be a part of your development.”


Anna had a great time again and looking forward to next one, been talking about it non stop

Kayden had the most amazing tiring week at RAW 2017 and can’t wait for next year

Ollie enjoyed the week so much

SINGLE-HANDED MAN POWER “I recently undertook, and passed, a rural fire recruits course, meaning I am part of a team that fights scrub/forest fires. I also just represented this fire brigade at the New Zealand national basketball tournament where we were placed third. I am trained to use different hand tools, operate different pumps and also fight the actual fires.

KIA ORA FROM FIREFIGHTER JACK Former Reach member Jack Adams is a teacher and part time rural firefighter in New Zealand

I didn’t think they’d take me but that didn’t stop me trying “It’s been along time since I was last in contact with anyone. I moved to New Zealand in 2002 with my family. Before that I had been a member of the Norfolk/East Anglia branch. “So Hello to anyone who may remember me! Reach meant a lot to me growing up. It helped me understand that I wasn’t alone in having an arm difference. It was also really great having older members show me that it was still possible to get involved with every aspect of life.


“This is a philosophy I have tried to keep to ever since and something I would like everyone growing up now, to know. I remember reading the Reach magazine when it came out to see all the amazing things that people with differences like mine were undertaking. I am hoping this article might do the same for someone else. “A dream of many young children is to become a fireman. Who doesn’t want to drive those big red trucks? This is something I never thought I would be able to do. I didn’t think they would take me, but this didn’t stop me trying.

“I am currently mid-way through my second year of teaching. I have a fantastic class of 25 10-13 year olds who keep me very busy. I think it’s important for them to understand that everyone is different and will do things in different ways. I try to show my students that everything is possible if they just give it a go. “Last year I entered the New Zealand Cyclocross national championships for my local Huttcross bike club. It’s awesome to see this form of cycling growing across the world! I also play for Hawera football club and basketball for the fire brigade and socially. Being involved in sport keeps me fit but also provides me with new challenges. I have to adapt the traditional play style to suit me and my ability.

I will never let anyone tell me I cannot do something because of my difference

“I am realistic in the fact there will always be things I cannot do, but I need to find those for myself. I will never let anyone tell me I cannot do something because of my difference. I will show them how I can do it. It’s really important to try everything, as you never know what you can do, until you do it! Kia Kaha! Jack Adams


My li’l boy Louie is a happy, amazing six year old who was born with Holt-oram syndrome which is also known as heart hand syndrome. Louie has had three lots of open heart surgery and had an internal pace maker fitted! He is missing both thumbs, as well as his radius and ulna bones from his left hand! I am very happy to join Louie Duncan this group and hopefully Louie can meet other children with all different limb abnormalities. Tammy-Lee Duncan‎

Elsie Buttery

Our gorgeous little boy Arjan Kalsi-Razaq arrived on the 21st May weighing 8lbs and 3oz! It was a beautiful natural birth and he is an absolute gem. I also wanted to thank you once again for the magazines you posted during my pregnancy as they helped prepare my daughter Leila and our family and friends for Arjan’s arrival. Navdeep Kalsi & Abbas Razaq

Arjan Kalsi-Razaq

Riley Stockdale

GIRL POWER EMILY ON HOW TO MANAGE THAT FIRST IMPRESSION Meeting new people is a bit daunting sometimes. Humans are curious creatures, so naturally if you’ve got something a little different about you, people are going to pick up on it. We’ve all done it, taken a second glance at someone (maybe even a third) because we’ve noticed something un-ordinary about them. I catch myself doing it and notice people doing it to me all the time! However, being introduced to new people in situations such as starting a new school, sports group or job, is a lot more personal than just having an encounter with a stranger on the street. Instead of the staring, or as well as the staring, there might be questions. Personally, I have found that people almost always want to know HOW. Usually, I explain to them I was born this way. Occasionally, I like to tell a bit of a cheeky story. My favourite is the alligator one. When I was younger, I told a boy I met on holiday that my arm was bitten off by an alligator. He went crying to his dad and my parents had to go over and explain I was just being silly! I’m not a fan of making people cry so I tend to stick to the truth now. Although it’s a bit boring, it’s a lot easier.

I tend to stick to the truth now, even though it’s a bit boring! I preferred it when I was younger because my parents would explain for me why I was born with only one hand. Now, I have to take matters into my own hands! Or hand, rather! Excuse the pun! Admittedly, it does get rather frustrating having to explain the same story over and over again but you’ll find that each person has a different reaction. For example, a friend at college told me he thought it was strange, my co-worker said she worries I won’t be able to do certain things and my tutor at university told me it’s a gift and I should use it to my advantage. There’s a whole world of different opinions out there and we can’t change how people view us, the most important thing is to just be yourself!


Loen was presented with the Most improved Football Player and Computing Awards at her Steeple Morden Primary School leavers assembly- a fitting end of a super year for Loen. Every year the school chooses two charities to raise money for. And every year Loen has asked the school council if Reach could be one of the charities. Finally, after quite a few disappointments, the school council agreed. After a very busy year of collecting money at the Church festivals, Christmas, Easter and the Harvest fair, dressing up for fancy dress, non-uniform days and the brilliant ‘Cookie’ project where a team of kids have to come up with a theme, make cookies to represent that theme and get the rest of the school to buy them. Loen’s team won, getting the most amount of money. In all she has managed to raise a whopping £1,690.00!

HARRY PERSUADED HIS SCHOOL TOO Harry Pepper, aged 8 has turned out to be a bit of a runner and all round sportsman. He also persuaded his school’s headteacher to fundraise for Reach and he helped her deliver an assembly on Reach for the whole school. This is his copy of the little speech he made.

GALLERY OF ACHIEVEMENT MBE AND GOLD MEDALS FOR HOLLIE Champion Javelin thrower Hollie Arnold has had a fantastic couple of years. She is pictured here receiving her MBE from the Prince of Wales. The award was announced in the New Year’s Honours List.

NO STOPPING MOUNTAINEER JAKE On Saturday 15th July, we went to Stone Farm at East Grinstead with Belinda Fuller, part of the paraclimbing coaching team. Jake (aged 8) was the only child amongst a group of adults and Belinda from Be Climbing and fellow coach Josh, did an amazing job. So proud of Jake on his first climbing experience, he had a fantastic time and with Be’s support & encouragement - he nailed it - not only once but on numerous climbs! Think this is the first of many. Clare Vosloo


Hollie was chosen as GB Para Athletics Team Captain for the World Para-Athletics Chmpionships in London where she won Gold to retain her position as


Benny Romberf won gold in the London Youth Games para swim - free style! He is now officially faster than his dad who is an ironman and has two hands!

She also appeared with Alex Brooker on TV’s Third Leg.


Next up is Commonwealth Games 2018 Australia Gold Coast, then onto another World Championships, then Tokyo 2022.


Another four years of competition sorted!

ALL ROUNDER “Cannot believe how sporty Taitum, aged 6, has become,” said mum Kayley Pitfield. “She has won a medal for playing football and praised for her great attitude and a high catch. She also runs and recently was the 3rd female and 1st in her age group (10 and under) out of a field of 211 participants. As for her swimming . . .”

MARTIAL ARTS SUCCESS Evan Joice celebrates after completing his first Jiu Jitsu grading

FOOTBALL TROPHY FOR BECCA Becca Scott is pictured being presented with the U11 Most Improved Player trophy at her football club awards. She’s the only girl and was 2nd highest goal scorer.


The kids got so good at javelin throwing the room we used wasn’t long enough!

On 10 June 2017 we held a FREE Reach Paralympic event in Kings Hill, Kent which was hugely supported by local businesses and individuals. It was lovely to have regular families attend and to also welcome new families to our event. Reach children and their siblings had the opportunity to participate in tennis, football and athletics (over 6s only). We were incredibly lucky that all the sports sessions were delivered for free to Reach children and their siblings. The under 6s enjoyed a fabulous free session by Jamie Blackburn from Hartbeeps , which involved a lot of singing and dancing! One 5 year old told her Dad she was delighted to see ‘these ladies’ again (as they very kindly entertained us at our Xmas party too!). Chloe Ayling and her team very kindly helped everyone to develop their tennis skills. We even had two kids who beat their tennis volunteer!! All of them practised their football skills with Lauren Cundy from the FA! I wasn’t brave enough to enter the room with the older one, with balls flying around!! There was also the opportunity to throw javelins and do long jumping with Janet Duffin and her team! The kids got so good at javelin throwing the room we used wasn’t long enough! Our amazing face-painter Charlotte Gardner successfully responded to challenges including Pokemon! There were also lots of tattoos and balloon models! Jayne from Asda helped us apply for a £320 grant which we used for food and prizes. We’re extremely grateful to Kings Hill Parish Council for the free use of their community centre and tennis courts, and to Helen Daniels for supplying the Usborne book prizes at a minimal cost to the charity. The FA and Paddock Wood Athletics Club also provided some wonderful prizes. We are incredibly lucky that Stephanie Chapman took professional photos for us throughout the event which captured all the fun we had! Stephanie is not only very kindly discounting the photos, but will donate all profits from the sales to the next Reach event!! Reach families had such a great time and afterwards several families went to the park opposite to continue the fun! Much appreciated feedback included: “Thanks for such a fun day and to all the amazing supporters; Thank you for organising such a fantastic event, perfect for my two! It was a fabulous day! It was great for children of all ages!” “The kids all had so much fun! Lots of smiling happy faces. Thanks for having me along ( Stephanie Chapman)” “A great event. The Taylor Made Tennis team thoroughly enjoyed themselves (Chloe Ayling). It was a fantastic event!”

The kids had a great time and so did we! (A Tennis volunteer) Thanks for letting Hartbeeeps be part of your amazing event! (Jamie Blackburn) It was fab! Thanks for having me along to facepaint, balloon and tattoo the masses! (Charlotte Gardner)

WELL DONE LIZZIE! 23 years ago this beautiful girl came into our lives. She has achieved so much in this time, from a little girl “with a sunny disposition” to a Paralympic Swimmer competing in the 2008 games in Beijing, finishing 5th and 6th in the world aged 15! She went through a huge struggle to leave her sport to further her studies, with the emotional rollercoaster this brought on, studying and working at the same time. She has now received her degree from Sheffield Hallam and will graduate later this year as an Occupational Therapist! Never ever doubt your ability to achieve whatever you put your mind to, hard work and determination is a wonderful gift that you have. Congratulations Lizzie Simpkin!


BRANCH NEWS WEST MIDLANDS Sunshine and smiles were the order of the day on 7th May when the West Midlands branch shared some time together at The Ackers Adventure Park in Birmingham. 7 Reach families met up and the 11 children in the group thoroughly enjoyed the dry skiing and tobogganing, followed by cup cakes in the sunshine! A fabulous group of people made the day a very memorable one! Thank you to everyone who made the effort to come along! Looking forward to our next branch event! Tracey Smith

SOUTH WEST DAY OUT The South West Branch had their first family day with me as the new coordinator. We went to Trethorne Leisure Park near Launceston. It was a great day and we had five families come along!


NORTH WEST CHARITY BALL Tickets are £45.00 each or £400 for a table of 10. Please contact or Rooms are £90 for a double with breakfast. There is a spa for guests and if you book in advance, Ruby Red Lips will do your make-up! Dancing to Motown Hits. Inspirational Reach member Baylee Abbott will talk about her experiences, joined by Tom Honeywell, one of our first Reach babies and BBC Weather Presenter Lucy Martin.

Auction items please! We need things like signed football shirts that could be framed or balls. If any businesses could help with sponsorship that would be a great help.

EAST ANGLIA East Anglia held its spring gathering at Thetford Forest. The turn out was even better than planned so organisers Carl and Vicky McGranachan had to do an emergency second run to Sainsburys for more supplies! “We had around 40 people and caught a lucky break in the weather for our BBQ,” said Carl. “Everyone was well fed and then we went exploring the trails and playgrounds hidden away in the forest.

There was lots to do at Trethorne including pony rides, bottle feeding baby animals (a personal favourite) bowling, soft play and so much more! Everyone had a really lovely time and for a few, myself included, it was their first ever Reach social event. My thoughts have now turned to our Christmas get together which I’m really excited about, id love to hear from our SW branch members with their ideas of where we can have some festive fun on southwest@reach. Gemma Petty


South Wales enjoyed a fantastic picnic lunch at Folly Farm. The weather wasn’t great, so we ate undercover, but there were plenty of opportunities for parents to catch up and for the children to play together. Later in the day we all enjoyed meeting the giraffes, penguins and lions and then climbing on the play equipment and having rides on the vintage fair. A few of us even rounded the day off with a chip supper on the beach at Saundersfoot. Melissa Beesley

BERKS, WILTS, OXON AND BUCKS The Berks, Wilts, Oxon and Bucks Region had their summer party in July at Cobbs Farm near Hungerford and a record attendance of 65 members, family and friends joined in the activities organised by Joanne and Tash. There was free entrance to the Play Barn, orienteering trails around the site and a host of activities including tiffin cakes, gingerbread men, family quiz and a tombola. All of the kids got to colour in their own paper Me, which were later adapted, laminated and turned into a BWOB Reach family garland, something to bring out at future events and which the kids enjoyed making. The silent online auction, advertised on Facebook with daily posts and live videos, finished at the party. The 12 auction Lots featuring some amazing donations from Steam Train rides to a six night holiday in Pendine Sands, handmade crafts to professional photography, horse and carriage rides and family fun days out, raised a fantastic £1,100 for Reach!



Two year old Summer is already getting into fundraising mode! Joanne Taylor

Who would like to win vouchers for Miller and Carter, Tesco, Shabar, Golden Panda, Becketts Farm Shop, Sainsbury’s and Costa Coffee, or ice skating, champagne, a Max Spielman canvas, vodka or beauty therapy vouchers...?

NORTH AND EAST YORKSHIRE North and East branch had another great day out today at Billy Bobs Ice Cream Parlour near Skipton. Sally Lambert

This is just a small selection of the raffle prizes at the Reach charity disco on 28th October. Tickets are selling FAST!. Just £5 a ticket for our amazing charity (www. We also have golf club membership, Land Rover driving day and Michael McIntyre tickets for our auction! Let me know if you would like to join us or buy raffle tickets or even donate and add to our growing list of prizes! Tracey Smith

NORTH WEST FAMILY WEEKEND “It seemed a long way off when Jane and I visited Patterdale Hall in December, and booked our weekend for the following July,” said Cheryl Danson. “The hall and it surroundings are just amazing, the staff are attentive and friendly. The food, wow! We never stopped eating! All good quality and so much selection. “The rooms had all recently been upgraded and were very comfortable. The activity programme they put together for us was wonderful, and they managed to incorporate some of our littlest members of the group. “We all enjoyed it immensely. The children all bonded and could have so much freedom around the centre to play and enjoy themselves.


“It is amazing to see them all interact and be completely comfortable. This for me, is what makes Reach so great as a charity - it enables families to come together like this at a fraction of the cost. I would just like to thank Jo and Abby at head office for all their hard work in finalising this weekend with bookings and room allocations etc and thank you to the trustees for agreeing to subsidise it, so that it was affordable for all. “I know the trustees would like branches to do more of this type of activity, so if you are a branch coordinator, go for it! Find a venue! Jo and Abby do all the hard work! Jane and I just had to visit the venue and sample the food! It’s a tough job! “We hope to repeat this weekend next year, as it was such a success.”

HAPPY TYNCAE 20TH BIRTHDAY Yet again words do not do the camp justice. The girls had the time of their lives

Another fantastic weekend at Reach Tyncae 2017. Thank you to Rob, Dawn, family, friends and all helpers

“Tyncae camp takes place on a

beautiful hill-side farm in west Wales on May Bank-Holiday. Reach families come from far and wide to pitch tents for a weekend jam-packed with fun events, laughter and memorable moments. This year was the 20th anniversary of Rob and Dawn’s wonderful endeavour.

“Friday evening was electric - literally. Families arrived, pitching tents in time to watch the lightning crackle in the distance. The activities got going in the marquee on Saturday morning with workshops including dance classes with Jessie Elder, making Lego snow-globes, weaving and chocolate making. “Lunch at Tregaron Rugby Club was a great chance to chat and get to know other Reach families. Rob and Dawn were presented with a giant cake to celebrate 20 years of incredible effort. The afternoon was spent burning off those extra calories at the sports centre (bouncy castle, football, and general fun) and then a lively session in the local pool. The day was perfectly capped with James Elliott’s epic BBQ, the raffle and Tony Rowley’s annual gift for each Reach child. This year was an expertly hand-made clock. “Sunday started early in convoy to Corris Railway, for organised rides and tours. After a picnic we headed to the afternoon’s event at the Corris Craft Centre with chocolate, candle-making, pottery and more. Delicious, messy and so creative! We drove home with families and newly-made friends teaming-up for the evening quiz fuelled by the cheesy jacket potatoes and soup. Lots of friendly competition and banter made for a terrific evening finishing with a Reach cake presentation to the Davies family. “After a sizzling breakfast cooked by James, it was on to the awards ceremony with medals for all. Josh deservedly won the camp star ward. His amazing drone-cam movie of Tyncae 17 can be found on the Reach Facebook pages. We made so many great memories and friends at Tyncae 17. Hope to see you there next year.” Johnny Chrimes


We can’t believe that it is all over. We had a superb time and we appreciate everything that you do

It’s the one place

Rob and Dawn she can relax and Davies and the three Davies boys be herself without Steven, Michael and fear of stares, comWilliam. All the help behind the scenes ments etc. She cried from Delyth Jones, Jo Currie, Lindsey Wilkins, when we got home Elinor Lloyd, Ed Davis, because she misses Eli Leigh-Jones, Paul Langridge, Monica and camp so much Chris Rose, John and Alice Storey, Morrison and Margo Halcrow, Janet and Keith Havercroft and Ed Davis for their kind donations. James Elliott the talented chef. Tony Rowley the craftsman. Julie Jones, Morrisons, Aberystwyth, for the picnic lunch. Samantha Lewis, Tesco, Aberystwyth, for the jacket potatoes and grated cheese. Dilwyn of Teifi Marquees, Tregaron for the donation of tables and chairs. The Corris Railway. Glenys Jones (Tregaron Rugby Club) for the Buffet lunch. Colchester Trophies E&M Motor Factors, Aberystwyth.


REACH ACTIVITIES COME AND JOIN THE PARACLIMBERS At 16 year’s old, Matthew Phillips is one of the World’s best paraclimber’s in his category and the sport has changed his life. Once a shy and not very sociable young teen he has become a confident, sociable young man with a large group of friends from all over the world. Fancy a life changing challenge yourself? The sport is growing and needs more people!. Try out these British Mountaineering Council (BMC) paraclimbing events: Round 1 – Sat 9 Sep 2017, Edinburgh International Climbing Arena Round 2 – Tue 17 Oct 2017, Castle Climbing Centre, London Round 3 – Sat 11 Nov 2017, Manchester Climbing Centre Round 4 – Sat 9 Dec 2017, Newcastle Climbing Centre BMC Competition Calendar - bmc-competitions-calendar

CLAIMING PEN Y FAN FOR REACH! Sarah Morgan‎’s first fundraising event was a great success, even if it did reveal a certain lack of fitness! Sarah and Gareth mustered a group of 28 friends and family to climb Pen y Fan, at 886ft the highest peak in South Wales and they raised £1,818.40. ,


With a backdrop of snow-streaked Himalayan mountains, and the lights of Dharamsala twinkling 1,000 feet below, I still didn’t really appreciate what I had achieved. It was only the next day when I had walked a further few hundred feet and found I was 2½ times higher than Ben Nevis that the reason for my tired legs, breathlessness and nausea hit me – 3,300 metres is pretty high. Not bad for someone who could barely walk round the block a couple of years earlier! I have a ‘significant’ birthday coming up later this year and inspired by my family who have run marathons and trekked for Reach, I thought a trek would be manageable. I came across the Dalai Lama Trek in India. A walk with a slightly spiritual dimension. Nothing could have prepared me for the adventure ahead. After plane and train we packed into taxis and weaved, swerved and honked our way for nearly 3 hours around cows, pedestrians and lorries, to Dharamsala.


I can’t say it was easy – it was a challenge after all - but the next few days were an amazing experience. We walked on and on and on, up steps, over boulders, across the ricketiest of bridges and through villages of curious locals and cud-chewing cows that watched us pass with bored expressions. We scrambled across landslips and crawled onto hilltops and there was nothing to beat the big hug from the rest of the team when we finally stopped for the evening at a campsite with a view to take your breath away. We slept in tents and washed in mountain streams and within a day all pretence of ‘grooming’ was gone. Thank goodness for the guides who were so kind, so helpful and incredibly professional. I am happy to say that with donations from friends and family and a Quiz night that raised £650 my final total was £1,750 raised for Reach. The falls, the scrapes the swollen hand and sore feet were definitely worth it. Jane Tarrant

Charity No: 1134544

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