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withinReach Issue 138

Helping children with upper limb differences live life without limits

Living life to the full Tackling challenges Overcoming prejudice Making their mark

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

Summer 2018



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 138 p6-7



Strategies for Starting School


Welcome to the Reach Family


Tyncae Weekend






Music for All


London Marathon


Tall Ships Adventures


Branch and Members' News

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 ÂŁ36. (ÂŁ35 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.

National Co-ordinator: Jo Dixon Volunteer Development Officer: Keely Burch-Havers 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 NRG Marketing, 209 Aldwick Road, Bognor Regis PO21 3QG

SHARED EXPERIENCES 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.




This is such an important role, bringing families together for support and shared fun and we have vacancies in the SOUTH WEST. Please give it a go. You don’t need to do it alone! Volunteer with a friend. HO will give lots of support. Call us on 0845 130 6225, or from a mobile: 020 3478 0100.



Jo Dixon, our wonderful National Co-ordinator, is leaving Reach for a new career in occupational therapy. We wish her every success in her new venture. "Almost six years have flown by since I was offered the role of Reach National Coordinator. I jumped at the chance – a role I could do working from home. Oh how I was mis-sold the job! "I accepted without appreciating what very large shoes I had to fill and why I had to fill them. Many times over the last six years I have extolled the virtues of Sue Stokes, my predecessor, whom I was not lucky enough to meet, and I hope she would be proud of Reach as we celebrate our 40th birthday.


"I started at a crisis point for the organisation and it was a rocky road for a few months I must say, but the trustees, volunteers and staff team have steered Reach to a secure place and there are some exciting new times ahead! "I am so pleased to welcome Keely Burch-Havers to the team. Her two-year project, funded in part by a legacy donation and a commitment from the trustees to invest some reserves, should see our essential volunteers and support to families through email, phone and social media, strengthened and I know she is keen to meet as many key people as possible to develop her project. "These years have flown by, and sadly it is now time for me to say goodbye, with more than a tear in my eye. I shall be leaving in mid September. Our members and supporters are what makes this charity such a lovely, vibrant and fun place to work, and I will miss you on the phone and social media, and especially at our events. Watching your children grow not only in size but also in confidence has been a real joy and I am taking with me such lovely memories. "My new path has been inspired by you and your children and some of the fantastic health professionals I have had the privilege to meet and work with. Training as an Occupational Therapist full-time is where I am off to for two years and this will hopefully plug some of the holes I will feel leaving! I really hope that I might see some Reach families in my new professional life and I am planning to not be too far away - I am a Reach member after all! "Finally - the plans for recruiting my replacement are progressing well but while there is a gap in my post, please be patient with Abby, Kate and Keely who are holding the fort! Jo Dixon


New Reach post of Volunteer Development Officer

My name is Keely, I am 44 years young and am married with three teenage children. I have lived in Cornwall nearly all of my life, although I have also lived in Devon and Yorkshire. My hobbies include swimming, walking, baking and decorating Celebration cakes for friends and family. For the last 20 plus years, I have enjoyed working with parents,children, and vulnerable adults in a wide range of roles for a number of large children's charities and local authorities. I worked with young adults with learning needs and conduct disorders in my late teens/20's and managed a residential home for four years. I continued in this field for the next 10 years until I had my children. Then at the age of 30 when my children were one, two and three years old, I decided to return part-time to university to study for a degree in Children's Development with a focus on behaviour management and brain development. Once qualified, I took on roles such as management of Nurseries, Project Worker, Early Intervention Worker, Senior Outreach Worker, Children's Centre Lead and lastly a Children's Learning and Development Lead working over a cluster of six Children's Centres. My husband often tells me just how stuborn I am, (I think he may have a point, but don’t tell him that I told you so!) But, I believe that this quality has served me well. I have often had to support frustrated parent/carers in order to improve their situation or get other professionals to sit down and listen to families' situations and my stubborn trait has paid off! My work with families and children has given me a passion for advocating for those in need and I am a staunch believer that every child should be treated equally, fairly and be given the same opportunities to succeed in life. I am very much looking forward to my role with Reach and getting the opportunity to be able to meet as many of you as possible. I hope that in the coming months and years, I can be here to support you in any way that I can. If I can't - then I will always strive to find someone who can! Enjoy the rest of the Summer holidays and I hope you all manage to have some fun! Keely Burch-Havers

CHAIRMAN’S REPORT I hope everyone has been enjoying the remarkable summer weather? A quick look on the Reach Facebook page indicates that we are. It's lovely to see all the different outdoor activities everybody is getting involved with and really making the most of day after day of endless sunshine.

Reach Board Lee Gwilliam Chairman 2 Middle Barn Cottages Hampstead Norreys Berkshire RG18 0SQ Tel : 07971 170922 email: Kevin Moyes Vice Chairman 12 Lady Housty Newton Swansea, SA3 4TS Tel: 07834353877 email:

So exceptional is the weather that Crystal and I are hosting a BBQ for Reach in August and I haven't even considered that the weather might not be accommodating.....famous last words no doubt! My family recently moved from East Sussex to West Berkshire, which meant some fond farewells to the friends we made in the Kent and Sussex branch. We had been part of the branch for nearly nine years and built friendships I hope will last a lot longer, hopefully meeting at other Reach events such as the Family Activity Weekends we have been introducing over the last few years. These events are a cost-effective way for Reach families to get together and enjoy activities, fun and the sharing of experiences that perhaps we don't get the chance to develop over the course of an afternoon. We recently had the pleasure of meeting a number of families in our new local Berkshire, Oxfordshire and Wiltshire Branch. We had a welcome escape from the summer heat and enjoyed some VIP Ice Skating, having exclusive access to the rink . Everyone had a fantastic time and it was wonderful to see the children (and dare I say some of the parents!) growing in confidence as the afternoon wore on. Early days I know but possibly some future winter paralympians were in our midst?

Phil Robertson Treasurer 126 Ash Lodge Drive Ash, Hampshire GU12 6NR Tel: 07973 363014 email: Gary Phillips 2 Walden Cottages, Westwood Lane, Normandy, Guildford, GU3 2JB Tel: 07984 045575 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 OBE 18 Church Road, Edgbaston, Birmingham B15 3TA Tel: 07747 867460 email: Ed Pearce 9 Fraser Close, Laindon Basildon, Essex SS15 6SU Tel: 07772 543949 email: Elizabeth Wilmshurst 94 Victoria Mount, Horsforth, Leeds, LS18 4PZ Tel: 07852 371075. email:

A big thank you to joint co-ordinators Joanne and Tash who organised the day. A nice reminder that the spirit of Reach is not closeted to one area. Everywhere I go the people I meet are kind, inclusive and work tirelessly to make our organisation what it is. Reach is unique, and I for one am proud of that. Lee Gwilliam

RESEARCH IINTO SPORTS PROSTHETICS University of Salford research student Natalie Chinn is looking for volunteers to help with her research into real time use of prostheses in sport by adolescents with upper limb difference. She will be exhibiting and volunteering at the Family Weekend so come and chat to her. "Taking part in sport and similar activities has many physical and psychosocial benefits." she said. "There are many reasons why people don’t take part in sport but for those affected by disability or limb absence, this can often be due to a lack of available resources and facilities. "The aim is to assess the relationship between adolescents with upper limb absence and the wear / use of their prostheses (limb) during sport. It is intended that findings will help to inform clinical practice improving opportunities for those with upper limb absence in sport and facilitate future research." Contact Natalie on 0161 295 0456.

Tracey Smith: "Very proud to represent Reach today at the Birmingham Children’s Hospital Hand and Upper Limb Service coffee morning. I had the opportunity to talk to some amazing and inspirational people and tell them about Reach!"


STRATEGIES FOR STARTING SCHOOL So your child has reached that heart stopping moment when they leave the security of a loving and understanding family and face the world.


Luke's parents summed up the feelings common to every Reach family in a facebook post seeking help and reassurance. Their son is starting preschool in September and they wanted to know if there was anything they could do to make the transition easy for all. Luke has a bilateral difference. He isn't aware of it yet but the children in his class will certainly notice it. His parents sensibly don't want to make it a big thing of it, but want to make it easy for other parents and teachers so they'll know appropriate language and how to answer their kid's questions when it comes to it. Daniel's mum knows how hard her son finds it when there is a new intake of pupils at his school, so this year she posted a piece on his school facebook page to ask nursery parents to show their children the photo of Daniel and have the conversation about difference and acceptance over the summer holiday. From her experience with Daniel, she says this could be a useful thing for parents to do before their children start school after summer. Alicia made this information sheet for the staff working with her son when he starts nursery in September.


I have helped my Mummy and Daddy make this information sheet about me, If you have any questions please ask my parents. They will be very happy to answer any questions you have. If you would like to learn more about upper limb differences then please go to the Reach website. It is a brilliant charity that we joined when I was born. I meet people with the same hand as me and I get to have great adventures with them. What is Symbrachydactyly? (The medical term for my hand) The fingers (and sometimes the hand and arm) don't fully form in utero. This may happen because the area doesn't get enough blood flow. It would have happened at around 6-8 weeks. There is no definite answer as to how or why it happened. Please don't treat me any different because I have a different hand. I do not need any extra help. First and foremost, I am a cheeky little boy who loves to have fun and get messy. It is important that I have the same opportunities as everyone else. If I need help I am very capable of asking. If children ask about my hand, please tell them that 'it's just my hand' and remind them that I can do everything they can. Remind them that we are all different and that is a good thing. Ask them if they have seen Finding Nemo and tell them I am like Nemo as I have a 'lucky fin'.

Hi, my name is Dexter. I am six years old. When I was growing in my mummy's tummy, my arm and my leg grew a bit differently to yours. My little arm stops at the elbow and my leg is a bit shorter than it should be because it is missing a bone! When I was a baby I had an operation on my leg so that i could wear a prosthetic (AKA very cool robot leg) to help me run and jump and hop and skip and do everything you can do. You may think I look different, but actually we ALL look different. You might have long legs, short legs, big feet, little feet, brown hair, blonde hair, curly hair, a big nose or a little nose. Some of you have glasses and you ALL have different colour skin and eyes. We come in ALL shapes and sizes and it’s AWESOME because that’s what makes us US! I can do everything you can do with my little arm. I can eat by myself, get dressed, carry a tray, catch a ball, swing on a rope, play musical interments and hold hands too. I have one finger on my arm and it’s brilliant for picking up hoola hoops, swiping games on mummy’s phone, building Lego or sticking and cutting paper. It’s the perfect size for drilling holes in the sand or the garden or to scoop yogurt out of a pot or even pick my nose! It’s great! One day I might get a robot arm, but for now I can do everything I want to do. I love my little arm. My real leg goes down to the ankle. The hospital made me a new one called a prosthetic. Some people have glasses to help them see. My prosthetic leg helps me walk. It is made of really strong plastic and the foot part is squidgy, just like yours. Every time I grow, they make me a new one, just the same way that you might need a new pair of trousers or a shirt to fit you as you grow too. I’ve had lots of cool legs with pictures on; a rocket, fire engines, minions AND even a pirate leg! I can choose anything I like for my prosthetic legs, it’s really fun. I can run and jump and swim and ride a bike and do everything just the same as you. I’m learning taekwondo and cricket and i’ve tried surfing and rock climbing. I love dancing and playing the Ukulele. At school, I take part in ALL the same sports and activities as everyone else, and I am always the best at hopping and balancing on one leg! I am really happy the way I am, but sometimes it can be annoying if new friends try and touch my little arm or leg, or point at me and say mean things. I don’t mind new friends being curious. If I want to, I will tell them I am like this because I was born like this and I’m cool with it, because I know we are ALL different. After that, I hope we can just get on with playing a really good game together and having fun. My favourite book is called Odd Dog Out, by Rob Biddulph, it’s a story about not fitting in. There’s a good bit in it that says, ‘I love to stand out from the crowd!' And so should you. Stand tall. Be proud! I think we should ALL be proud of who we are and appreciate that being different is REALLY great!

OBE FOR REACH TRUSTEE RUTH This award is very much for all Reach children

Ruth Lester, Reach trustee and Birmingham Children’s Hospital plastic surgeon has been honoured with an OBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours thanks to her pioneering work in caring for children and young people with hand and upper limb difference.

The Birmingham Women's and Children's NHS Trust wrote: This award recognised "her commitment to developing a specialist service, which has helped thousands of patients and families since it was first set up in the early 1990s – starting at the former Sandwell District General Hospital and the Royal Orthopaedic Hospital. "Since arriving at the Children’s Hospital in 2000, Ruth Lester continued to develop and grow the unique multi-disciplinary service which combines the expertise of orthopaedic surgeons, neurologists, radiologists, geneticists, therapists, psychologists and many others in one place, at one time, to improve the all-round care these young patients receive. "Not only that, but the introduction of holistic care in the form of dedicated camps for those with congenital hand conditions and coffee mornings for parents have greatly improved the mental health and wellbeing of these children, young people and families. "She and her team recognised the importance of bringing together families whose lives are affected by these rare conditions, understanding the need for care beyond their physical disability or condition. By doing so, self-esteem is greatly improved as well as emotional and psychological health. "From seeing 200 children in 2000, today the team cares for and supports more than 600 young people each year. Her expertise and commitment have not only improved the lives of children in the UK but across the globe too. Internationally respected, she has also developed guidelines and care models which have been used as a framework for worldwide guidelines. She’s also led the way in setting up national data collection initiatives to help identify the surgical outcomes of hand injuries throughout the UK, aiming to raise these standards. Beyond her clinical work, she has established a dedicated fund under the umbrella of Birmingham Children’s Hospital Charity called the Children’s Hands and Arms (CHARMS) charity. This raises funds to support special training for staff, continue holistic approaches to care and hopes to create a dedicated centre within the hospital."

The true super heroes are the inspirational children and young people I have cared for

Despite retirement, Ruth continues to work closely with the Hand and Upper Limb team nonclinically and is a Trustee of the Birmingham Women’s and Birmingham Children’s Hospital Charities, and, of course, of Reach!


Parents frequently ask if there are books available that help to prepare children (and school teachers) to accept a limb difference. The answer is a loud, clear,


VISIT THE REACH WEBSITE This gives a parent's and a teacher's perspective. And read our booklet -


SINGLE HANDED GIRL POWER WHEN YOU UNDERSTAND HOW OTHER PEOPLE REACT TO YOU THEN YOU CAN DEAL WITH IT! Emily Tisshaw canvassed her new friends to find out how they coped with her arm when they first met her. "Recently, I have moved to a new town, got a new job and made new friends. I decided to interview some of these new friends to find out their completely honest, first reaction to my arm. I wanted to know how they felt about it, how they approached me and what they said (or didn’t say) in response to them noticing my arm. "My little arm has its own little face and is called Guinea because my sister used to say it looked like a guinea pig!"

I didn’t even notice it and then when I did I was curious about whose arm went where in the dominance of hugs. 8

I was shocked the first time I saw you. After the initial shock, I was thoughtful. I questioned myself – why was I surprised? I asked you about it straight away and then I realised it made you uncomfortable so I ignored it but it never bothered me.

I didn’t even notice it at first then once I did, I just found it really hard to resist puns! I’veI think I was a bit surprised, curious.. and a little bit uncomfortable as there was a part of me that didn’t know where to look. My initial response was to just try and ignore it. Our other friend opened the conversation about it, which was kind of a relief, as it put things in the open and just made it seem like one of those things, rather than some major issue..

When I first met you of course the first thing I noticed was your missing arm. I’ve always had a queasy reaction to limbs or digits being missing as I have a phobia of losing any of my own through an accident, even trapping a finger in a door or drawer is fainting material. I didn't know the story behind it so was unaware if you had lost it at some point in your life through a tragedy or if you were born without it. I found it hard to look at it, occasionally glancing but after properly meeting you, my feelings changed to admiration. We have become very close friends and I have seen you do everything a two armed person would - sometimes I question how. I was always apprehensive about mentioning your missing limb before, which was probably quite ignorant, but until I knew the story, I felt it wasn't my place to ask. Two months on, I comfortably look at it, and the little cartoon face it has on the end of it. I have a real understanding now and have gone from not being able to look at it due to my fear, to asking many questions, being in awe of you and even feeling it and how the bones sit beneath the skin. You have become a close friend and a secret hero of mine.

I thought it was an added credential to you. You’re pretty, and lovely AND you have a disability – I thought it was great.

Erin Cooney, from Luton, will be one in November. Erin was born with ulnar longitudinal dysplasia on her left hand and is undergoing the separation of her finger at the minute.

Amelia Emmet aged 3

Freddie Morgan is 10 months old. "We joined Reach after a recommendation from a current member. We have found it a fantastic support and have already been on an outing with the Gloucestershire group where we met other members and lots of new friends for Freddie."

She is the happiest, most loveable little baby.

Beth Jordan, age 3, from Saintfield, Northern Ireland. "We joined Reach this year and are delighted with the support and hints and tips we've received. We are looking forward to attending our first branch day out in a few weeks and meeting other families and children who are affected similarly to Beth."

Kit Roper Lennox was born missing his left hand and he has a shortened forearm. We found this out at our 20 week scan. He is such a lovely determined boy! He is pictured here with his brother Theo.

Yumna Shaikh our third child, was born on the 27th January with an absent left hand and shortened forearm. She is only five months old but she has been an absolute joy and pleasure to watch grow, she inspires us daily. A couple of days ago she astounded us by using her special arm to hook her teething ring onto!

Breanna is seven and a half months old and this was her first time on a swing! She loved it!

Luke Ă“ CuinneagĂĄin from Blackrock, Co Louth in Ireland is pictured here on his third birthday in May!

Austin Jefferies Georgia Prosho Evie Mills joined Reach in December


Fantastic weekend! Our first camp and we loved it!


Leila Myszka writes: "Camp Tyncae is a fun event and the activities are great. The fun started on the Friday night when everyone put up their tents. On the Saturday, we went to the Tregaron leisure centre in the morning and the activities there were cake making, painting, crafts, mega-blocks and in the main hall there was athletics (the high jump was a favourite). Then it was time for a buffet lunch at the rugby club. After this, we went swimming and did sports hall activities at Lampeter leisure centre. At the pool, the water slide was popular.

10 "Everyone went back to the very windy campsite, listened to stories with Ippy, had a BBQ and then the raffle. It was an outrageously windy night with a bit of lightening but no rain! "On Sunday morning everyone headed off to Fantasy Farm Park. At the farm we met animals, fed lambs, went on tractor rides and played at the indoor and outdoor play areas (lunch was provided by Morrisons). There was also water pedal boats, go-carts and a bucking bronco ride. It hammered

What a magical weekend feeling truly blessed !

"On the Monday morning, bacon rolls were served and all the campers packed up their tents. They listened to the thank yous and medals were given out. Everyone said their goodbyes and thanks to everyone who helped make this camp a comfortable and successful event. Thank you!


down with rain but luckily the campers stayed dry inside! Soon it was a nice, sunny day! After a while we went back to camp. "We had more stories with Ippy and supper of soup and jacket potatoes. Tracy Herrick and Joshua hosted the annual family quiz.

Kangaloos, Monica and Chris Rose, Margo and Morrison, Halcrow, Maureen and Geoff Nicholas, Eirlys Morgan, Anna Coulson-Williams from Morrisons, Aberystwyth, for a full picnic lunch and coleslaw tubs, Natasha Worrall -from Tesco, Aberystwyth, for the jacket potatoes, grated cheese and soup,Tina from Fedwen Tentage Marquee Hire, Llandysul, Lloyd and Simone from Fantasy Farm Park, Hamdden Caron Leisure plc, Arwel Jones from Lampeter Leisure Centre, Ippy the children's story teller, Glenys Jones from Tregaron Rugby Club, Paul Langridge for all his hard work, Del Jones, Eli Leigh-Jones and Ed Davis and the Tyncae crew.

FAMILY WEEKEND Places are still available for the Sunday morning climbing session at the Reach Family Weekend. After last year’s successful outing to Bristol's Bloc climbing centre we have decided to do it again. Reach are subsidising 20 children age 6 and above to have an hour's climbing from 10.30am on Sunday 21st October. It is FREE for families who have a fully paid up membership and are booked to come to the family weekend, but pre-booking is essential. Email head office on reach@ giving us your child’s name, date of birth and any medical history. This year the trip out is to Young Bristol for fun rowing a Cornish Gig, Powerboating and Kayaking. There will be the popular Football Academy as usual.

REACH MENTORING WEEKEND One of the strengths of Reach is that it draws on older Reach teenagers and young adults to mentor younger children on RAW and at the Family weekend. They give advice, support and reassurance and act as role models. They are also formally trained in child protection and safeguarding on special weekend courses. This year the course was held in Wales. Lisa Howes reported: "What a wonderful weekend. Trustees Gary Phillips and Phil Robertson were great fun and encouraging the whole time. Phil picked me up from the station and made me feel at ease straight way as we drove to the restaurant to meet everyone else. "It is always great to meet new members and catch up with people who I mentored on RAW over 10 years ago - which made me the oldest person on the training! "The weekend was held in a beautiful place near Machynlleth. We were spoilt with the weather too. There was a lot to learn but it was taught in such away that a) I could remember it and b) you felt prepared to mentor and safeguard the Reach children, whether at RAW or AGM activities. "For those of us chosen to go to RAW in August, we will use what we have learnt to help, guide, support and care for the 10-17 year old. As a group of Reach adults, we learnt from each other as we talked about what we do and how we overcome things. "Over the weekend, we worked together in the cooking of breakfast, cleaning up as we left. We had some fun in the evenings playing games and sharing laughter. We hope that we can get together and have some adult Reach activities as we had a wonderful time together. Many thanks to Gary and Phil." Ying said: "Thank you for organising and delivering such a great training session last weekend in Wales. Thank you very much for bringing us together.

DOLLS THAT MAKE A DIFFERENCE Ariella's talented grandma made the doll with her suitcases full of beautiful outfits. The crocheted dolls, however, are made by Reach mum Lisa Carswell, aka Cornish Maid and they can be ordered tailormade to mirror your child's specific arm difference. Just go to the Reach website, branch news and search for handmade Reach dolls. Like books with a Reach hero, these dolls can make an enormous difference to a child's self esteem, just whenn they are beginning to notice that they have a limb difference.

"Surrounded by all the inspiring stories, I had an unforgettable time with the other eight incredible Reach adults. "The courage, resilience and empathy I saw in them inspired me and will continue to inspire me in my future adventures. I believe the rapport we built up will help us create a loving community among us and also other Reach adults and families later on. "And the training itself was very well structured with useful theories and practical case studies, from which I gained valuable insights into the child protection practice of Reach as well as mentors' responsibilities and rights under Reach's umbrella. Thanks again Gary and Phil for your dedication and expertise for making this training thought-provoking. "I will surely keep my connection with Reach and get more involved in future activities and events as much as possible."


R A W 12


Kara from Global Make Some Noise had a great time seeing what RAW is all about

At RAW, nobody accepts 'NO', You can do everything!

THE SUN SHONE ON R A W AT CALSHOT ACTIVITIES CENTRE After a bit of a grey start, RAW 2018 turned into a week of fabulous sunshine and...OK...not so very warm water!

It's special just knowing that other kids are just the same as you

Our young adventurers threw themselves into an amazing array of activities from windsurfing, raft building and sailing on open water (watch out for the Isle of Wight ferry!) to target shooting, high ropes, crate stacking and cycling in the velodrome. First timers: Jacob, 10, "I like the water sports." Izi, 12, "It's nice to meet people. I like everything, especially the swing." Dakota, 10, "I'm enjoying the activities, the food, and I've made friends!"

Alice, 17, has been to RAW every year bar one since she was 10! "It's the friends you make and meeting people," she said. "When you are younger you grow up with them, even though you only see them once a year. Everyone is comfortable around each other. It's a really good place to be yourself. The activities are really good especially for the younger ones who haven't done them before. I learned "The older ones help the younger how to tie my ones. At night you just talk about hair up and do everything that's happened to you. It my shoelaces makes things easier."





Aaron and Alana

Tony: "This is my fourth year as a mentor. Calshot is great as it has so many activities."


New mentors this year were Alana, Aaron and Chris. Alana and Aaron have known each other through RAW for almost 10 years and this year went on the Reach mentoring weekend, learning about safegarding and protection and how to deal with tricky situations. "I wanted to come because I enjoyed the camp so much," said Aaron. "I came to help the younger ones because I had so much help when I was little and the mentors keep it fun for the kids," said Alana. "It's special just knowing that other kids are just the same as you and being able to talk to people about your problems. The older ones show the younger ones how to do things they didn't think they could ever do." "I don't know how capable I would have been without Reach, doing sport and playing musical instruments," said Aaron. Chris, new adult mentor, had been to RAW when he from 12-14. "I have done a lot of volunteering with the Ocean Youth Trust and I worked at Youth Camp in Australia for a year. It's good to be back with Reach." Jess has been a mentor since she was 18."It's so important for the children to see others in their situation taking part in all these activities and learning from one another and the young adults can give advice on things like learning to drive."

RAW helped change my personality for the better

Aliyah's last year. "I have been since I was 10. I've had the same friends since I started and I hope to come back as a mentor."

REACH BURSARIES CAN MAKE A WORLD OF DIFFERENCE We love helping our young members to live life to the full! There are Reach Bursaries 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, musical instruments and more. Would your child benefit from that bit extra? Apply now. Our Bursary Panel is keen to help out. If you need help applying just contact head office. Luke Batty is a talented swimmer and his bursary made it possible for him to go even further! "The money we received last year was amazing," said his parents Mick and Becky. "It enabled Luke to do a number of things he would otherwise have missed out on. With the money we bought new equipment, shorts and goggles which were much needed, and also used it to pay for Luke to attend a residential swim camp with his swimming squad. "In addition, the bursary meant that Luke could attend the compulsory galas as dictated by his England Talent Programme Officers. Luke has attended a three-day gala in Southampton (where he retained his National titles in six events), a two-day gala in Leeds, and two five-day galas in Sheffield.


"He has attended training camps in Basildon, Loughborough and Nottingham which all required overnight stays. Lastly, we used some of the bursary to attend the National Swimming Awards, where Luke had the privilege of winning the England Talent Athlete of the Year. "Obviously we have paid for his regular swimming costs such as membership fees, coaching fees and gala entrance fees which has amounted to over £2000, but the money we received from Reach allowed us to do so much more for Luke, and for this we will be ever grateful." Emily Snell is enjoying freedom behind her special wheel after passing her driving test. "I'm 17 years old and I have ectrodactyly which means I have a shortened right arm with only two fingers as well as a fused elbow. I have been a Reach member since birth, and I applied to Reach in June for a bursary to purchase a steering aid for my own car. "I had been learning to drive for five months with a driving instructor using a piece of specialist equipment called a Lodgsons 10 way wireless controller. This allows me to use indicators, windscreen wipers, screen wash and horn with my left arm! This is essential to the safety of my driving! "Having this equipment fitted costs around £1,500, and I would have struggled to purchase it without help from Reach! They were brilliant in answering my questions and the bursary application form was very straightforward to fill out! I wasn't expecting such a quick response but within two weeks I had a reply telling me I had been awarded the bursary money! "This was a dream come true and has enabled me to have so much more freedom! I went on to pass my test on the 28th June. Without the help I received from Reach this wouldn't have been possible!"

Ruth Stanisstreet is super fit and winning international competitions thanks to her £1,200 Reach bursary. Back in January Ruth, aged 20, who has been a Reach member since birth, went to Miami for a four-day CrossFit competition. "It started when she entered a competition back in September 2017," said mum Zoe."Big CrossFit competitions are world based and all done on line. You get your workouts released on-line every week. You then go to your box (gym for nonCrossfitters), complete your workout which you must video and submit on-line. "These are then judged and scored. Ruth was the only British woman to enter in her category and she came 3rd! As you can imagine she was over the moon. The next big hurdle was the final which was held in Miami! "We decided to ask her local rehabilitation centre and Reach for financial support so that Ruth and I could get to the competition. We were so pleased that both organisations were willing to support Ruth. She was also given donations from friends and family and we finally had enough money. Flights, visa and accommodation booked, we headed to Miami. "It was the most amazing experience. There were 2,000 athletes in total competing over four days. We would like to again thank Reach for the support they gave Ruth. Since going to Miami she also qualified for the Open coming 2nd. The finals for these were in Canada. Unfortunately Ruth was unable to attend due to an injury. But this has not deterred her and she hopes to be able to return to Miami next January. She is now trying to finance her CrossFit coaching certificate."

MUSIC IS FOR EVERYONE THE OHMI CONFERENCE & AWARDS 2018 The Conference, which incorporates the annual Competition Awards and Gala Concert, takes place on September 7-8 at the new Royal Birmingham Conservatoire. OHMI is kindly offering a 20% discount for Reach members. Just put the code REACH20 into Eventbrite https://www.eventbrite. and that should do the trick! Although it is the first conference we have organised, our Call for Papers produced a strong response from across the world with speakers and presentations from the USA, New Zealand, Brazil, Japan, Australia, Spain, the Netherlands, and, of course, the UK. It will feature demonstrations of new technology and instrument design, bring people together from across the world and help us involve new partners, stimulate new thinking, and set future goals. We would really appreciate your support and ideas – so book your discounted tickets now!

THE GALA CONCERT The Gala Concert is at 7pm on Friday, September 7th hosted by comedian Al Murray. It features some exceptional disabled musicians – Bader’s Big Band, the Petry sisters and, most notably, the outstanding virtuoso French horn player Felix Klieser. Felix will be making his UK debut with a performance of Mozart’s Horn Concerto No.4. He is an extraordinary talent by any measure. Becoming one of the finest horn players in the world at only 27 is impressive enough, but mastering the instrument despite having no arms is truly amazing. Among his many achievements, Felix has played with the Berlin Philharmonic and with Sting on his world tour. He is also an ambassador for the OHMI Trust and he is a fantastic role model fo bi-lateral Reach members.

children, including playing cricket and football. It was a really cheerful and positive day for everyone, with great sessions of enthusiastic playing. Rachel and Tim enjoyed widening the musical horizons of the children by introducing them to instruments that would allow them, for the first time, to learn and play with their peers.

THE EUROPEAN DOCTORS ORCHESTRA CONCERT IN AID OF OHMI Our special thanks go to Reach trustee, plastic surgeon and violinist, Ruth Lester OBE, for her efforts and hard work in organising the European Doctors Orchestra Concert in aid of the OHMI Trust.

The concert was held in Warwick on 3rd June. The orchestra comprises musicians from across Europe, all of whom are doctors. The theme, A Musical Journey of Loss, Triumph and Mystery, began with Walton’s Spitfire Prelude and Fugue and concluded with Elgar’s Enigma Variations.

BRIGHTON WORKSHOP Rachel Wolffsohn and Tim Low, our General and Assistant General Managers, visited Sussex Rehabilitation Hospital for a workshop on 1st June. Having prepared for six children, Rachel and Tim were then rather surprised when over 30 showed up! Children with upper limb differences and their families tried a range of adapted instruments and enabling apparatus, including an array of brass (pictured) and recorders. The workshop was part of a day of experiences for the

Nicholas McCarthy performed Ravel’s Concerto for left hand and Jess Gillam, the first saxophonist to win the Woodwind section of the BBC Young Musician of the Year, played a transcription of Marcello’s Oboe Concerto. Nicholas was born without a right hand and became the first one-handed pianist to graduate from the Royal Academy of Music in its 130 year history. Before and after the concert, and during the interval, members of the Langley Brass Band brilliantly demonstrated the capabilities of a range of OHMI’s brass instrument and support stands.



Congratulations to Hannah and Josh Evans. They got married this spring and decided to combine the celebrations with a spot of fundraising for Reach at the same time. “We donated money instead of favours and had collection tins on the bar in the evening,” said Hannah. “We raised £625.” Josh and Hannah are pictured here on their wedding day with their Reach daughter Ruby and son Finley.


The Master of the Scriveners Company nominated Reach as his charity of the year and the Court and Trustees approved a donation of £250. Williamsburgh Primary School and Nursery Class in Paisley raised £289.80 for the Scotland Branch with a dress down day. Reach member Monica Fisher is a pupil there. The Trustees of the Dunclay Charitable Trust have donated £500 to Scotland Branch. Fleggburgh Tennis Club in Norfolk held a fundraising lunch and donated £536 to the East Anglia and Essex Branch. Collection boxes in Newport raised £101 thanks to the efforts of Freya’s grandmother Geraldine Griffiths. A new café, called Pwnc, collected an extra £20. Following the death of Kenneth Carter, donations totalling £200 were made to Reach. Donations totalling £2,000 were made to Reach in memory of the late Leena Broadhead. Friends and relatives of the late Melvyn Linscer donated £315. Mary Bowen-Morris’s grandparents Mr and Mrs Bastian donated £50. Nicola Hayes donated £31. She organised a March Challenge and Taryn Monks completed 31 press ups a day. Alastair Hume’s grandparents from Leicester donated £50 to mark their Golden Wedding. Thetford Inner Wheel in Croxton donated £100. Reach mum Kelly Galley works for Childbase, and the company has generously donated £2,000 to Reach. Evie McLeod's lovely grandmother Una has donated £100. The English department at Chorlton High School, Manchester works with students on an Oracy programme to promote meaningful conversation and inspire students to use their voice effectively. As part of their study of Oracy, Year 7

INCREDIBLE GENEROSITY OF THESE THREE BIRTHDAY BOYS Bernardo De Franceschi and his wonderful friends Aran and Rafael celebrated their birthdays recently and instead of asking for presents, they asked for donations to Reach SW. Mum Fernanda said: "It was really nice to see them happy with every envelope they received and between them they raised a total of £145! "They have been learning at school “all equal all different” and Reach was the inspiration for these topics at weekly assemblies. Bernardo is very much loved by his friends and school staff. Definitely this is a great fundraising idea!" A big thank you to Bernardo, Aran and Rafael! You are an inspiration! students wrote “Ignite Speeches” to share their passion for a particular subject and raise awareness for causes and ideas close to their hearts. "The event was a platform for their voices to be heard and was so inspiring!" said Stephen Langstaff. "One of our speakers has an upper limb difference, which is what she spoke about, and suggested Reach as a charity we could raise money for something we all thought was a fantastic cause. Heather Snelling held her eighth annual garden party on Spring Bank Holiday in Kent and raised an amazing £1,285. “It was an absolutely glorious day,” she said. “I was as usual ably assisted by my grandsons Jack and Toby Eden and my daughter Kirsten. " A total of 76 friends and relations attended and everyone had a wonderful time on the various stalls. Jack and Toby ran the tombola. We enjoyed a two-course lunch and spent a very pleasant afternoon in the sunshine. Preparations are now underway for next year’s event by popular request!”



YOU RAISED A REC0RD £14,000 This year we also had a record number of runners thanks to the help of Reach member Daisy Brown who works for Virgin and managed to allocate us some spaces.

Andrew Dixon

Michelle Evans. see what else the family has been up to on behalf of Reach on page 19!

Daniel Quinn, mum Nicola and Reach child Poppy. Daniel was our top marathon fundraiser raising over £4,000!

Our lovely 2018 runners were Matthew Algar, Keith Suttle, Daniel Quinn, Andy Dixon, Michelle Evans, Craig Banks, Nikki Gooch, Alex Reed, Geoff Prewitt. Thank you all SO much!


SECOND NORTH WEST FAMILY WEEKEND AT PATTERDALE Congratulations to our team RUN FOR REACH which completed the Belfast Marathon Relay event on 7th May in 4 hours 27 minutes raising a fantastic total of £1,246.26 for Reach. A huge thank you to all those who donated and especially to our runners Mark Currie, Dionne Ward, Natalie Ward, Damien Gallagher, Patricia Gallagher and Lynne McKinley for all their hard work. It was all worth it in the end!

North West Branch held their second family weekend at Patterdale Hall Residential Adventure Learning Centre. Organiser Cheryl Danson said: "It was hard to beat last year's weekend but they did! "We were staying in such wonderful surroundings and the staff work tirelessly to ensure the safety and enjoyment of everyone. "There was a huge amount of food and fabulous company! It was so nice to see the children all bonding and playing together. "We get to do it all again next year! Details will be sent out nearer the time. I expect it will book up very quickly again. Keep an eye out for an email." Cheryl Danson



Lorraine O'Farrell's gym 'Evolutis' in Coolock, Dublin, took a group of around 60 people to compete in Hell & Back in June. "It is one of Ireland's toughest mental and physical challenges over a 12km obstacle course at the side of the beautiful Wicklow mountains," she said. "There were 44 obstacles, water, mud, tires, a lake leap, rope climbs, mountain, stones, trees, cuts, bruises, crawl, jog, push, laughter, team work - at the end we were buzzing! "We raised €9k for two charities - Reach Ireland and Temple Street Children's Hospital. Reach Ireland was given half of the monies raised - €4,750."

SWANSEA HALF MARATHON "I'm immensely proud of my cousin Steffan Howells," said Ffion Evans.


"He ran the Swansea Half Marathon in June in just 1 hour 59 mins, raising £566.25 for Reach. "He’s so chuffed he managed to do it so I would like to acknowledge him and thank him for helping Reach." Steffan is pictured here with Ffion's Reach child Annie.

TOUCH RUGBY Ffion and her partner Nathan also raised money in a Touch Rugby Tournament, raising over £200.12 including donations from Bryncethin Rygby Club in Bridgend. "June was a very busy and proud month for us with Reach!" said Ffion.

HEACHAM MANOR GOLF DAY The club held its annual Ladies Invitation Day on the 4th July. The winning team, pictured below left, with an outstanding total of 98 points, was left to right Rachel Hodgkinson, Kirsten Kerry, (Ann Keeper, ladies Vice Captain, Sophie De Winton, Captain) and Joan Gill. The day raised £120 for Reach.

The ladies pictured right helped organise the event: Michelle, Karen, Sophie (Lady Captain), Phyllis and Ann Keeper (Humphrey Keeper’s Grannie).

DECLYN TAKES UP CHALLENGES FOR REACH Declyn Evans took part in his first Duathlon and was amazing. He got out there and tried very hard despite the rain and even found a burst of speed at the end when he saw his mum Michelle at the finishing line. "Amazing job, Declyn, we are all so proud of you!" said dad Simon. "Declyn did the duathlon to raise money for Reach. He says that Reach have helped us so much as family since his brother Jake was born, that he wanted to give something back.

IT'S NEVER TOO YOUNG TO START FUNDRAISING...... CAR WASHING The Algar family from Coventry held a successful car wash for Reach in April at Foleshill Fire Station, organised by Matthew Algar as part of his London marathon fundraising campaign. Harrison aged two had a whale of a time helping Mummy and Daddy wash cars and his reward was a ride in the fire engines! The event raised £400.

.....OR ORGANISING A CAKE SALE Sophie Stewart Place held a cake sale at school and raised £143.60! She has a separate donations tub from friends and family which we are yet to add up. But she's one happy girl!

"He abseiled down Pembroke Castle to raise money. He has raised over £100 between the abseil and the duathlon." His dad says he is awesome. So is his mum. Michelle has raised over £1800 for Reach through running various races including the London Marathon. She has also organised various fundraising events such as cake sales and fun days. "Jake our son was born in 2015 missing his lower left arm. We were put in touch with Reach, who have been our biggest support ever since," said Michelle. "We are blessed to be a part of Reach, and our local branch in Cardiff, which we will be raising funds for, have been friendly and welcoming from day one. "This is our thank you to them and it's our way to help towards keeping our local branch active. We are just two parents, who are trying our best to provide Jake and our older sons with the support they deserve."


THE WESTMINSTER 10K Runner Dan Hauck sacrificed football loyalty to raise funds for Reach. As you can see from the picture, he is not wearing a Reach shirt. Instead, the Tottenham Hotspurs fan gritted his teeth and donned the shirt of rival Arsenal. " It was fun actually," he said,. "And I ended up raising more than I'd hoped, as I got £200 each from three friends for agreeing to wear the Arsenal football shirt"

without limits

"It was a very hot and sunny day," said Kavita Reese. "I completed the virgin 10k running for Reach. Being somewhat a novice to distance running, I took up the challenge to encourage my boys to push themselves and ‘live life with no limits ‘ much like Reach itself. "After weeks of training the big day arrived, along with the heatwave. I was delighted to bump into fellow Reach runner Jess Theissinger. Together we completed a great achievement for ourselves, running the whole course and raising money for a cause close to our hearts. A memorable day! Thank you Reach for the opportunity."

Stephanie Allard raised £546.70


FABULOUS OPPORTUNITY TO JOIN THE CREW OF A TALL SHIP The Jubilee Sailing Trust has invited Reach members over 12yrs old in Dorset and Hampshire to apply for a taster day on this magnificent tall ship. Don't miss out on this WONDERFUL opportunity! Three berths are available for our members to sail off Southampton on September 28th on SV Tenacious or Lord Nelson. Young people 12+ must be accompanied by an adult. Those 16+ can go alone. This is a chance to experience a tall ship before committing to one of the JST's full training voyages. Hopefully it will whet your appetite for other amazing adventures that the JST are offering to Reach members in the future. Dave Allen ran the 10k in 50mins 42sec and raised a total of £1,580 for Reach. "James, our Reach son, is four and loved cheering his dad on!" said Joanna.

If you are interested, you will be taught how to pull ropes and set sails and have a go at helming the ship. If the weather is fine you might even be able to climb aloft! Or you can of course, just sit back and enjoy the view of the English coast and let your imagination rip. Read what Tom and Elmarie got up to on their voyage. They had an awesome time! There is a £25 cost per head for food but the sailing is FREE. This exciting opportunity is funded by The Pointer Family Trust. Please let HO know if you are interested ASAP so that we can let you have the booking link.

AHOY THERE, MY HEARTIES! VOYAGERS HOME FROM SEA Elmarie and Tom have just landed from a training voyage on Tenacious and had an AWESOME time! The JST teamed up with SkillForce giving servicemen leaving the Army the chance to mentor the young people on board. ELMARIE: I feel very privileged to have spent six days aboard Tenacious with a bunch of truly inspiring people. It’s not often you get the chance to sail across the English Channel with an incredibly diverse crew. What stood out to me most while on the ship was teamwork. I also saw so beautifully, each individual's compassion blossom as the week went on, it was like a warm hug to humanity. At the beginning we were all strangers, by the end we were family. JST has provided such an enriched, supportive environment for people's personal growth and development. Every day brought something new. TOM: Boarding the ship I was feeling hesitant but was put at ease meeting the crew who were very friendly. We were put into four watch teams. I was put on mess duty where I had to set up dinner for everyone. Having never done anything like this before, I really enjoyed it and it was definitely worth doing. ELMARIE: Hello seasickness! We left Portsmouth Harbour and set sail. I had sea sickness pills and was happily dosed on a mild sedative, - an experience itself, like having gins for breakfast! I slept so much it was beautiful. When I did get up it was time for my mess duty, I helped prepare and clean up for breakfast, and lunch. TOM: We passed the Isle of Wight. Our team was on watch duty first where we had to look out for ships and steer the ship in the right direction. I spoke to the army veterans that were working for skillforce. It was interesting to hear about their experiences with mentoring young people in school and how they try to teach resilience and discipline within schools. After my shift had ended I helped in getting the sails up and began meeting some very inspiring people on the ship. ELMARIE: We sailed down to France down the Caen Canal. We anchored overnight and explored Caen. Before leaving the ship, those of us doing the leadership at sea were tasked with finding a tacky souvenir to present on the final night.

Our evening watch from 6 to 8pm proved to be very educational while also very funny. Alex was trying to teach me the phonetic alphabet but I would have a guess before he told me… what came out was very random! For the record, R will always stand for rasta. It was also unfortunate that they caught my blonde moment on video when I said giant for J. By the end of this watch I learned the phonetic alphabet and it got tested every day until I got off the ship. TOM: We were on watch from 8pm-midnight. It was really nice to be in the English Channel at midnight being away from everything. I was on watch between 12-2 am where I played chess with one of the other passengers. One of the most amazing things about this trip is I was able to meet so many people from very different backgrounds to me. This gave me a perspective on other people’s points of view. ELMARIE: On Day 5 we saw DOLPHINS! We were sitting in the sun making friendship bracelets, you’d think life couldn’t get any better and then dolphins come swimming next to the ship! Today was definitely my favourite. We climbed the masts and flopped ourselves over like fish onto the yards. There was a great atmosphere and feeling of community as everyone supported each other going up the masts. TOM: I had scrub the decks clean. You wouldn’t particularly associate cleaning the ship with fun but the positivity of everyone and the atmosphere of the ship enabled cleaning to become fun. Everyone got involved and helped out. On the way back we we practised safety drills and I was able to steer the ship which I found quite interesting. I also had numerous thought-provoking conversations which certainly made me think about my future. ELMARIE: When we were docked at Portsmouth the heads of Skillforce and JST came onto the ship and we had dinner together and presentations of the tacky souvenirs. Thanking all those who made this trip happen and everyone on board for the awesome memories. TOM: I think due to this trip I am definitely thinking about volunteering for Reach and I feel I have definitely gained a lot from the experience which I am very grateful for and wish the Jubilee Sailing Tust the very best!



Eva had a great day at the Limbpower junior sports day. Anyone in Reach who is over five can go to their events. They’re a great way to show any sporty Reach child all the sports they can get involved in.

Megan had a fabulous weekend at the National Junior Para-Swimming Championships in April. She came away with five medals and some great Personal Bests! Meghan wanted to ‘smash it!’ and she did. Her mum Suzanne Elizabeth said; "It was also really lovely to meet some other Reach families there and watch their amazing kids swimming so well! An exciting future for our Reach swimmers! "Meghan went through swimming lessons like any other child - I could see she was doing quite well when she was about eight - managing to swim similarly to that of her peers. The swimming teacher recommended her attending the local club. Within three weeks they passed her on to the Welsh Para Swimming Development Officer who came and watched her swim and recommended we go for classification. This was last year. On being classified the swimmers are able to attend the disability meets. Get to a club and any good one will support you all the way."


LimbPower are a National Disability Sports Organisation supporting amputees and individuals with limb impairments in physical activity, sport and the arts to aid physical, social and psychological rehabilitation.


JUST STARTING! Santino aged five has recently started swimming lessons and was given his first award for swimming five metres. The special thing about this award is that not every child gets it when they achieve the distance. According to the swimming instructor, it’s awarded to those children who persevere with exceptional determination. Bravo, Santino!

TWO BY TWO INTO THE ARK "As my it was my first meet up as a branch co-ordinator," said Lee Harvey, "It was great to see such a good turnout for Noah's Ark Rescue and Adopt a Pet Centre. " All the children had great fun and many new friendships were made. Also so pleased to see parents engaging with one another and sharing positive information."

"When the Bader Braves advertised a Sailing Day in Bristol during the summer holidays, I signed up for Taitum (8) and her sister Morgan (10)," said Kayley Pitfield. "The day was absolutely gorgeous. We all got kitted out in life jackets including me and the girls' 69 year old grandma (she wasn’t expecting that!). "Our first session was out on a Katakanu. We paddled down to the City Centre, our instructor moored up and gave us a little guided tour on foot before we paddled back. Taitum was now getting a little tired with one-handed paddling so she relaxed on the hammock in the middle of the Katakanu leaving us to do all the hard work! "Back at the watersports headquarters for a lovely lunch put on by The Douglas Bader Foundation. It was nice to chat with other families. After lunch we chose to do sailing. Adults were included but Grandma and I decided to sit out and take photos whilst enjoying the sun. They were out on the water for over two hours and had a wonderful time. "All too soon the day was over. We had the most amazing day and would highly recommend it to other families."

BRANCH NEWS NEW FOR 2018 - KENT WEEKEND There are still places available for the adventure weekend for Kent members at the Swattenden Activity Centre on 21st 23rd September. To book please use the new online booking form by clicking on this link We can accommodate approximately 12 families and bookings are accepted on a first come first served basis. Cost is ÂŁ50 per person and under 2's go free. The weekend promises to be fantastic, families will be looked after from Friday night (arrive after dinner) to Sunday lunchtime (lunch included), all activities and meals are provided. The weekend is about relaxed, fun, family time with Reach friends and some physical challenge thrown in (which are all optional). It is a great way to make new friends, meet up with old ones and take part in some fun activities. This weekend has run for many years in Scotland and the Lake District and both are much loved - we sincerely hope you can join us for some fun and friendship.

KENT SPORTS DAY After the successful spring outing to Bluewater, members were invited to take part in a sports day at Mascalls School, in Paddock Wood, organised by Martine McCahon. Jessica Tabbah said: "Thank you so much for a brilliant day! We had a great time and the girls absolutely loved it. Jane Valdiserri: "Thank you to all the volunteers donating their time and efforts. We loved meeting up with everyone again and can't wait for the next event. The sports day was our second and even bigger and better than the first! "We were delighted we had families from Berkshire and Cambridge so they travelled quite far! Under 5s did football, fundamental sports (lots of fun games). They also enjoyed the face painting , crafts and cupcake decorating.Over 6s has a fantastic athletics session using the local athletics track and long jump. They also throughly enjoyed wheelchair rugby!"

IRELAND BRANCH REACHES 100 Ireland has clocked up 100 members, and branch co-ordinator Lorraine O'Farrell reckons that's pretty good going for such a small community They had two meets on the 2nd June. Nine families met up in Athlone and four in Cork, just over 20 Reach kids and siblings. "We booked a softplay area in both locations and some hot food and cake for the kids. All kids left for home sweaty, red faced and happy," said Lorraine. "And our very own Conall and Chloe are now home from a training camp in Rome with the junior amputee football team." From July 4-8, 10 young people from Ireland joined children from across Europe for the event. Around 70 young people, from 10 countries across Europe, all of whom have suffered an amputation or limb deficiency, enjoyed intense football training and sporting festivities.Supported by UEFA, this is the third year of this highly acclaimed amputee football junior camp, the first of which took place in Dublin in 2016 before moving to Warsaw last year.

UMBERSLADE ADVENTURE "West Midlands Summer Meet was at a fabulous venue, Umberslade Adventure. We took part in family orienteering, a commando assault course and a low ropes course. We all deserved a lovely picnic after all the action, kindly supplied by Morrisons. Thank you to Seb and all the staff at Umberslade and Melanie, our Community Champion in Sheldon Morrisons. It was great to welcome some new members whilst catching up with old friends. Next stop is the Christmas party! Looking forward already!" Tracey Smith


RISE TO THIS TECHY CHALLENGE Eoghan Barry (15) rowed in his first competitive races for Skibbereen Rowing Club in July. Does anyone else in Reach row? We think he might be unique! His coach told his local paper The Southern Star he was ‘incredible’ with ‘no fear’ and a ‘great attitude.’ Eoghan had always dreamed of racing, but developing a prosthetic to enable him to row has been an ongoing challenge. One attachment kept breaking so the design is continually being tweaked and improved with the help of local firms and the addition of a leather harness around his shoulder.

Photo courtesy The Southern Star

‘It’s about taking little steps all the time,’ said his mum Ellen. ‘We’ve looked in Ireland, England, France and other countries to see if someone has a solution but no-one else has a similar story.’ His current prosthetic arrangement did enable him to race competitively for the first time at the Fermoy Regatta and it was a special moment. In a double he finished third. Then Eoghan joined friends in a junior 15 quad and they came second. ‘It was fantastic to see,’ said Ellen. ‘He wouldn’t let on a bit but you’d know that he was happy.' Living on the same road in Kilkilleen with one half of the world lightweight pair champions, Shane O’Driscoll, and not too far from the O’Donovan brothers, Eoghan doesn’t have to look too far for inspiration. He just needs someone to develop an attachment that really works. Come on you prosthetists - rise to the challenge!

POND DIPPING AND MINI BEASTS South Wales Branch enjoyed their summer meet up at Llanelli Wetland Centre. The first activity was pond dipping. "We found lots of interesting creatures hiding in the ponds," said Melissa Beesley. "We even put them under the microscope to have a closer look at them in the special classroom. "Then it was time for a picnic lunch. It was so hot that it was hard to find enough shade for us all. After many lollies had been eaten, we went on a Ranger Walk to discover lots of mini beasts, and expert rangers spotted signs of beasts. The highlight was finding the skin that had been shed by a slow worm. "We fed ducks, built dens and cooed over baby flamingoes. Oh, and of course, we all enjoyed the usual Reach friends and family catching up and watching the children play."

SCOTTISH BRANCH BRAVED LIONS The Scottish Branch had its first meet up of the year at the Blair Drummond Safari Park in May. Stephanie Tennant said: "We were joined by three new families and it was lovely to meet you all. We had a beautiful sunny day which allowed all our families to have a look around the safari park, meeting up for the sea lion show together and all sharing a wonderful lunch in a lovely marquee. "So much fun was had by all." Wild weather on Loch Tay did not affect Reach families having a ball at the Ardeonaig Activities Centre in August. Full report and pictures in the next issue of Within Reach.

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