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


Reach R celebrates its first WORLD

CHAMPION! See Page 7


Look! We’ve found a Reach crab!

Ability not disability that


within Reach

Please send photographs and stories for Within Reach to: Jane Garrett The Editor, Within Reach, 2 Farmside Cottages, Hound House Road, Guildford, GU5 9JG Tel: 01483 203237 Mobile: 07884 268594 Email:




Registered charity no. 1134544

Comments, articles, requests, ideas: We welcome comments, articles, requests or suggestions, for future editions of Within Reach. Letters: Any letters for publication should include the name and address of the sender, but these can be withheld from publication if requested. Advertising: Within Reach has a print run of 1,500 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. November


Editorial deadline: Material for inclusion in the winter issue must be sent to the editor by 1st November 2013

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 £30. You will receive a four monthly magazine plus you will be given access to the ‘members only’ area on our Facebook page. Reach Insurance Reach carries an insurance policy which covers the good arm of affected children who are UK citizens, against accidental loss. The good arm is covered against permanent total disablement to the sum of £50,000. This cover benefits members and is effective from birth to 65 provided membership is continuous. Details are available from HQ. Other publications available from Reach

National Co-ordinator: Jo Dixon Reach, Pearl Assurance House, Brook Street, Tavistock, PL19 0BN Tel: 0845 130 6225 Email: Office hours: Monday-Friday 9am-4pm website: Follow us on twitter: @reachcharity Facebook:

* Reach - An Introductory Booklet * The Child with an Artificial Arm: Guidelines for Teachers * Pollicisation - clinical notes * Poland Syndrome: a short description * DVD - An introduction to Reach, free on request * My Story....I do it my way - a book for children to fill in and help share with others

Within Reach magazine is printed and distributed by Branded Media Ltd, Unit A, Lutyens Industrial Estate, Bilton Road, Basingstoke, Hants RG24 8LJ



REACH NEEDS YOU! Support for our member families is patchy across the UK and we badly need people to step forward as VOLUNTEERS to take on the role of Branch Co-ordinator in Berkshire and Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire and Hertfordshire and Cornwall and South London and West Yorkshire and Derbyshire and Lincolnshire and Nottinghamshire and to share the role in Kent. This is a very rewarding role. Please get in touch to help support your local Reach families. Contact: Jo Dixon on

THANK YOU to Mark Saunders of Spiny Fish Designs who has given his time to designing the Reach flyers and May Ball posters. Mark works with Siân and is a very talented designer:

SUMMER 2013 . ISSUE 123


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Hope to meet lots of you in Leeds so I can put faces to names!

“I work with Jo at Head Office in Tavistock. I have lived in Devon for most of my life with my two children. Never having worked for a charity before, this was a new experience for me which I am finding very fulfilling and rewarding. I am looking forward to being part of an exciting future with Reach,” Abby Williams

Key dates

Reach 2013

FAMILY WEEKEND AND AGM OCTOBER 25TH - 27TH Marriott Hotel 4 Trevelyan Square Boar Lane Leeds, LS1 6ET


Ok, now I have hit the six month mark working for Reach and I feel I am still scratching the surface! Exciting things have happened since I introduced myself, and I am not talking about the sun shining continuously in Devon for three weeks! We have moved HQ from Cornwall to a great new office in Tavistock, with enough space to start to get organised with resources and I have been joined by Abby Williams in the role of administrator. Abby is far more organised than I will ever be, and together we are learning to love the new database system, sort out our recorder hire scheme, streamline membership and take bookings for our coming event! I was delighted that Kelly Knox, one of our Ambassadors, was able to arrange for a group of Reach members to join a make-up school in July – see page 11 for a full report and photos. Looking to the next few months, we have RAW and the AGM coming up and Abby and I are really looking forward to putting faces to names and voices we have spoken to over the last few months. The Scottish branch have their annual Activity Weekend planned for August, and many other branches are arranging a summer get together so please make sure we have your correct contact details so you hear about local events.


Saturday 26th October 11am – 4.30pm

Saturday 26th October 10.30am – 4.30pm

A crèche for 0-4s and a Fun Club for 4-5 year olds. These are both run by the fabulous Freedom Childcare nursery staff. Lunch will be served in the crèche.

The Exhibition opens at 10.30am featuring a range of gadgets, prosthetics and hopefully a car...

Fun workshops for 5-10 year olds with Magic, Music, Pottery and Arts and Crafts. Lunch will be served in the restaurant at noon. For 10+ years: A trip to Herd Farm Activity Centre, a short coachride away. You will need to bring waterproof clothes and stout footwear with you. Baked potato lunch is provided at Herd Farm.

6.30 - 9.30pm The children will be given high tea. The crèche opens again for our very young members. Disco and entertainer for the 5-8 year olds, For older children and teenagers we have: Table tennis tournaments, Wii and X box games room, Xfactor Chill Out Room, Competitions and more..... At 9.30 the fun ends with us and it’s over to your parents in the FAMILY DANCE ...... My contact number, for queries about the day of fun, on Oct 26th, is 01925 263811. Bernie Ainsworth



The Conference/AGM will start at 12 noon. Speakers for the AGM include: Professor Simon Kay – leading hand surgeon at Leeds Royal Infirmary and recent TV star! Fergus Jepson – Consultant Prosthetist from Preston Tammy Barratt – an adult Reach member, paediatric nurse, mum of three and a sportswoman Alex Brooker – C4 presenter and Reach ambassador AGM- official business finishing around 4.30pm We are hoping a Reach member will be running a Nail Bar for us during the day and if you bring along your spare gloves, this is a great chance to do a swap!

There are still places available but they are going fast. The online booking is working well, but if you find it tricky to navigate, give Jo or Abby a ring in the office on 0845 130 6225 and they will talk you through it.

LOOKING FORWARD SOME BIG CHALLENGES FOR REACH Every couple of months the magazine ‘Governance’ drops on the mat. It is for Charity Trustees and it always contains articles that make me compare our performance at Reach with other Charities. The same issues come up time and time again and I always find myself looking for lessons, learning about new approaches and becoming inspired once again when I realise none of the challenges we face are particularly new or different from those facing any other charity. Crucially this year we have made huge strides getting Jo settled in and setting up our new head office in Devon. To enable Jo to make the most valuable use of her time we have now employed a part-time assistant to help her and ensure the office is manned as much as possible. Our database and our membership lists have been completely overhauled and we have modernised our IT equipment and systems. Our website has been modernised. I hope this will be reflected in better organisation for our events, better communication and information for all. We are now ready to face new challenges. The big question is which way to go. Many members like Reach as it is, small and with a family feel, and do not see any need to change this. They are happy to come to events and meetings and hopefully do some fundraising from time to time. Our core business is the support we give to parents particularly in the early years, but the children we support grow up and the need for Charity lessens as they grow older and find their own solutions to their problems. What we hope is that they remember Reach and keep in touch so that they can be role models for our new members. We have been very successful in achieving that but there is a big gap in what we could do. Key to the next few years will be keeping our profile high within the bigger charity world, the Big Society if you want to call it that. We already punch above our weight in terms of our reputation and the professionalism that has been brought to the Events we organise, particularly the AGM. We need to continue that and seek recognition for our achievements. The Governance magazine mentioned above supports the annual Charity Awards and I have long cherished the hope that one day we would be in a position to put Reach forward. If we are well regarded by our peers then we are doing things right for our members. We need financial stability, and after two years of dipping into our reserves and avoiding expanding our events programme, we hope to balance the books this year. One big step will be whether to recruit a fundraiser and which way we go then. We postponed the decision this year in order to sort our internal organisation first. Now this has happened the fundraiser discussion will be a high priority. Finally, we need to embrace change. We have already seen a revolution in the way that social networking affects us. I am not the person to take this forward as I get to the age of 60 but I do realise the importance of Twitter and Facebook and the issues it raises .There are many of our members who do have skills and opinions and we would welcome hearing from you. Nigel Tarrant

AMBASSADOR ALEX BROOKER HAS BEEN ON A MISSION Alex went on a personal journey to lose weight ahead of a holiday in June - his mission recorded for a Channel 4 documentary Man V Fat to be broadcast later this summer. Alex has struggled with his weight since he was a teenager and with only two months to lose his target of two stone, he embarked on a strict calorie-controlled diet and fitness regime. He chose his old school friend John to be his personal trainer and together they improvised so that Alex was able to exercise his short arm on the machines and build up overall fitness. “I’ve been a perennial porker right from when I was a kid,” said Alex, “And I’ve decided now is the time to change all that. To make a documentary about my attempt to lose weight and also about the changing relationship between men and weight loss makes a lot of sense.” Alex has just been made a Panathlon Ambassador following his success as a Paralympics commentator. Visiting the London Finals of Panathlon, he said, “There was nothing like this around when I was growing up. I went to a regular boys’ school and did what sport I could with the people that I was there with. It was difficult and I was always fighting an uphill battle, but I was very lucky because my disability was such that I was able to do ablebodied sport. I’m sure there were a lot more kids who didn’t have that opportunity at all.” Don’t miss Alex in the new series of The Last Leg on Channel 4, Wednesdays at 10pm.




WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS..... ALL EYES ON CLAIRE AT THE IPC SWIMMING WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS, AS WITHIN REACH GOES TO PRESS Hi everyone, I hope you’re all well and enjoying the beautiful weather! I always enjoy my early mornings a little more when it’s a nice sunny day. Since you last heard from me, I had a successful few days at the British Trials at the end of April and managed to qualify in my two main events, the 100m Breaststroke and the 200 Individual Medley. It was a great event and I was really pleased to get the trials out of the way and be qualified at the end of it. It means that my racing is slightly more relaxed until the World Championships. We had a week’s holiday after the trials so I managed to get away to France for a few days. I flew out to Mallorca for two weeks soon after the Trials for a training camp. It’s great to have the opportunity to travel with the team to different places for training, especially when the weather is nice there too! It was two weeks of full-on hard training leaving me with a little niggle in my knee. An MRI scan showed inflammation and this meant I had to rest my knee completely and no Breaststroke. In these situations, you have just got to take it as an opportunity to work on something else and try to improve in other ways. For me it meant I could focus on my upper body and arm strength, which is always a good thing! I was lucky enough to be invited to Buckingham Palace to the Queen’s Garden Party along with my teammates too. I had such a lovely time, and it was a beautiful day. It was great to be there and meet up with some other athletes and people I hadn’t seen since the Games. Since then I’ve been training and I’ve raced at quite a few local events which is always good practice and something I always do in between big competitions. As I had qualified for the World Championships at the British Trials in April, it meant when I got to the British Championships in Sheffield it was less stressful racing than it could have been had I not qualified. It was a really great event and the rest of the team and I really enjoyed ourselves. I’m in the final six weeks of training leading up to the IPC Swimming World Championships in Montreal, Canada. I have to admit, I’m starting to get nervous now. In these weeks leading up to a major competition it can get quite full on. It’s so important to maintain fitness and avoid injury whilst constantly trying to improve. Everything is going to plan but I am anxious and just hope things still go to plan once I step up on that starting block in Montreal. The next few weeks are vital, and I will keep you updated on how it’s all going before I go.

Claire Cashmore x



...earlier at the palace with Susie Rodgers and Charlotte Henshaw

CONGRATULATIONS to Claire on being awarded the degree of Doctor of Laws, honoris causa, by the University of Leeds Her citation, read by Prof Vivien Jones, read: “We knew about Claire’s bronze Paralympic medals from Athens and Beijing, and her five gold, nine silver and six bronze medals from other international Championships. We knew, too, about her other awards: asNpower Young Female Achiever, for example; or W-A-S-P Disability Personality of the Year. What we couldn’t yet know was that she would go on to win two silver and a further bronze medal in London 2012 – and that she would be chosen as one of the faces of Channel 4’s ‘Meet the Superhumans’ campaign. “Claire’s athletic prowess might put her in the ‘superhuman’ category; but her modest reflections on her achievements and her readiness to support others make her also wonderfully human, whether acting as Equalities Champion for a social enterprise providing housing in her home town of Kidderminster, or working in secondary schools as an Athlete Mentor, under the Living for Sport initiative. “It’s this commitment not just to personal achievement but to giving back that makes us particularly proud of Claire as a Leeds graduate.”



Hollie Arnold, who has been a Reach member since before she was born, has won the Senior World IPC Championships at Lyons with a javelin throw of 37.45m that was a personal lifetime best. At 19 years old, this professional athlete, who has a short right arm without a hand, already has two Paralympic Games under her belt and two World Championships and she has years to go before she develops to her full potential. She was just 14 when she competed at the Beijing Games having had no previous international competition experience, and last year at the London 2012 Paralympics she came fifth. She won Bronze in the New Zealand World Championships. Coached by Antony Hughes and supported by a bit of Lottery funding, she has improved over the last 12 months to beat off all competition and take the world title. “Her arm has not held her back at all,” said mum Jill. “When she competed in London she went back to her school for an open mike session and one child asked if she had the chance, would she choose to be born with two hands. “Hollie answered that she would choose to be the way she was as it had opened so many doors and enabled her to do and experience so many things she would never have been able to otherwise. “When I discovered about her arm at the 20 week scan I was heartbroken but my way of coping was to


Winning the World Championship still hasn’t sunk in. But I loved being interviewed on TV and being able to watch the rest of the games without any pressure!

search for information and we have been members of Reach since before Hollie was born. “She started throwing the and going to Beijing was big growing-up experience in good stead as she is


javelin when she was 13 a baptism of fire. It was a for her which has stood her a full time athlete now.”



THE MOMENT OF TRUTH YOUR NEW ARRIVAL IS A REACH BABY..... Upper limb deficiency is rare - that’s good news. But it means that health professionals handling pregnancy and births often have little or no personal experience of dealing with it. The importance of Reach in providing support cannot be over-stated, - just look at the warmth of welcome and support offered to new mum, Amy, through our closed Facebook group - so please spread the word around whenever you come into contact with midwives, doctors, paediatricians etc, so that they automatically put new parents in touch with Reach.

It is absolutely brilliant to know I am not alone and Evan isn’t alone.

Amy Quarton only found out about her son Evan when he was handed to her after a painful 18 hour labour. He was born two months ago with a partially formed thumb and little finger and a spare digit. He has now been referred to a specialist at the Oxford Centre. “The abnormality didn’t show up on the scan,” said Amy, “And when he was born, he was passed straight to me. I looked at his hands and I thought I saw something not quite right but it was when he was passed back to me that one of the midwives pointed it out. The midwives just told me and said they were going to call a paediatrician. “It was a traumatic labour and I just felt thank God he was alive. He was 13 days late, my first child, and it wasn’t until a couple of days later that it dawned on me and I started to wonder how I was going to tell people. It was hard to get my own head round it. I had to deal with it myself and I have gone through all the emotions, thinking of what to say and how to bring it up and what are people going to think. At the time I had to get myself sorted and focus more on getting us ok.



Rachel Stevens found out very early that her baby daughter had a partlally formed hand. “Frankie is nine months old now and we found out about her hand at the 12 week scan which is pretty early,” she said. “The discovery was not reallyhandled badly, but we had to find a lot of our own support network. We went straight on-line to Google and found Netmums (the online parenting advice site) and they put me in touch with Reach. “The paediatrician had also mentioned Reach but did nothing more about it. But by that point I had already found everything out I possibly could. So even before Frankie was born we were very well looked after.”

“The paediatrician came and X-rayed him and all was ok. He was photographed for their records and will be referred to one of their specialists. There was no emotional support for us but it wasn’t my priority. It wasn’t handled badly and my husband and I are just glad he is alive and are not worried about his hand. “The paediatrician gave us found the Facebook group knowing I wasn’t the only have watched the DVD in is brilliant.”

details of Reach and we and it was such a relief one. It was brilliant. I the welcome pack and it

“Midwives get training around the issue of how to break bad news to parents, but it’s quite rare for them to have to put it into practice. We don’t see cases very often. It’s a matter of trying to say the right thing and each university training midwives will do something different, but it’s all about ‘how would you best support these families’. It’s about helping them to manage the loss of expectation.

WOULD YOU LIKE A PEN PAL? Young members of Raggiungere in Italy and Assedea from France are keen to find a pen pal in the UK. So if you are interested in writing to somebody of your own age in Italy or France contact Frank Letch on or 07594965221 with your name, contact details, hobbies and interests, and specify if you want a boy or a girl penpal from either Italy or France.

LIMB POWER PRIMARY AND JUNIOR GAMES SAT 5TH & SUN 6TH OCTOBER STOKE MANDEVILLE STADIUM PRIMARY GAMES on Saturday, introduces young ambulant disabled aged 6-11 to sports including athletics, cycling, football, table tennis, tennis, and swimming under the guidance of experienced mentors and instructors in an inclusive environment. The emphasis is on having fun while encouraging the children to have a go at sports and socialise with their peers. JUNIOR GAMES on Sunday, introduces ambulant disabled teenagers aged 11-18 to key Paralympic sports including athletics, powerlifting, basketball, sitting volleyball, archery, football, cycling, fencing, shooting, table tennis, swimming and tennis, with instruction from qualified coaches and experienced athletes. Discover the Paralympians of the future! “We’re thrilled to be able to offer the same opportunities to children that we have been offering to adults at the Amputee Games” said Kiera Roche, LimbPower founder and Event Organiser of the Junior Games. Anyone interested in taking part should contact: Kiera Roche from LimbPower on: 07502 276858 or

“The first thing is to help parents through the initial shock, listening to how they feel, as there is a grieving process for something they haven’t got. It is also important to organise a very urgent referral for a specialist. “The midwife won’t be dealing with this on her own and the main thing is to be positive and supportive.”

BRILLIANT MADE-TO-MEASURE GLOVES I had a pair of ski gloves specially made for my hands (see picture). The company name is Zanier, and they were very helpful and can make many types of gloves for many different needs. If people want gloves made I would recommend them to go to Toby

NEED A LITTLE BIT EXTRA....? We believe that members should have the chance to reach their full potential and the charity runs a Bursary scheme to help when a little extra funding is needed for them to achieve their goals. The maximum award that can be made is £1,500 but most applications are for much smaller amounts. Awards made over the last few years include funds for car adaptations, guitar and swimming lessons and help with an overseas trip. Each application is assessed by an independent panel of advisors, and panel members particularly appreciate requests written by the young people themselves. A typical award might be for an aid, device or adaptation that is not available from the NHS or Social Services that would enable them to perform an activity. Awards are also made where the young person has a special interest or talent for an activity that requires an aid or device to help them to improve their performance or broaden their horizons. The Reach team is happy to talk people through it before the form is submitted. Just call Jo Dixon on 0845 130 6225 or email for information and a copy of the application form.



Gail Johnson, Professional Development Advisor for the Royal College of Midwives, says:

We don’t see cases very often ...... ...... but the main thing is to be positive and supportive.



THE CASE FOR A BUDDY SYSTEM Reach did not exist when Claire Parkin was born in 1973 and she has only just joined the charity this year, inspired by Olivia, a baby born with a similar deficiency living nearby. Claire’s mum was given no information or advice about how to cope with limb loss. Shocked that 40 years on, the story was much the same for Rebecca and Graham when Olivia was born, Claire has come up with the idea of a Reach Buddy system: this is what she has to say:

“I was three by the time my mum discovered there was a limb fitting centre right behind the birth unit at the hospital. She was appalled she had not been told about it, but then she discovered Roehampton and we have never been anywhere else since.

There were many local fund raising events instigated in my honour and I went on to become the first ever recipient of the British myoelectric.

For years, my mum thought I was the only baby in the world with one arm

“Reach was in its infancy at this time and there were no local support groups and I grew up feeling quite isolated. “Junior school was not a problem but at the time of my transfer to senior school my parents were called in and told that I would not be allowed to take science as a subject because I would be a danger to the other children. The one thing their ignorance gave me was determination. “It was around this time that I decided I wanted to be a doctor one day. My mother wrote to 20 medical schools to ask if they would consider training someone like me. They all said no.” Claire went on to achieve the BTEC medal for outstanding achievement with 10 distinctions and took a



There is not enough information for new parents of babies born with limb deficiencies. It makes sense to propose some form of buddy system where newborns and their parents are partnered with a ‘REACH ELDER’! Someone who has been there, done it and worn the T-shirt!

“When I was five Roehampton developed a British prototype of the myoelectric arm and my parents were asked if I would pioneer it for them. My mother opened her own greetings card shop to raise the funds as limbs were not paid for by the NHS at this time.

I know that Olivia and I will be buddies for life and I will take great pleasure from being there for her whenever she needs me.

BSc in Nursing at King’s College without disclosing that she had a missing arm. In recognition of her achievement she appeared on Noel’s Chrismas Presents Show on BBC on Christmas Day and the BBC took her and her sister on a private tour of NASA. Claire specialised in general, neuro and cardiothoracic intensive care (ITU) nursing, completing a Masters in Immunology and Neuroscience as well as working her way up to Junior Sister before moving into research. She fulfilled her dream of becoming a doctor in 2011 when she completed her PhD in Biomedical Engineering at Imperial College.


Olivia is a very lucky little girl. She has a buddy for life, but it came about randomly, by chance. Rebecca and Claire just happened to be both pregnant at the same time under the same midwife. When Olivia was born, Claire was told about her and she asked the midwife to give Rebecca her phone number. Such a simple connection, such important results. Now Claire wants all new Reach parents to have that same opportunity, not as a matter of chance but as the norm: an example of best practice in action.

We were both shocked, I was speechless and Graham fainted!

We had an appointment with a specialist the next day who told us, Olivia’s arm was 25% shorter than her right and she was without her hand but had two digits; but was a perfectly healthy baby and there was noting to worry about. We were over the moon that she was going to be ok. All our family were happy, a few had reservations, but now she’s here they are gone. We had a couple of extra scans just to make sure Olivia was growing and developing as she should and all was fine.

Claire and I had the same health visitors. Olivia was born around six weeks after Claire’s daughter. This is how we got in touch. Our health visitor passed on Claire’s number to us on Claire’s request so we could have a chat. When Olivia was born she was perfect, her arm was not a big deal it was beautiful. All our family thought her arm was the cutest arm they had ever seen! We were happily surprised that she has five

digits. Our paediatrician referred us to a plastic surgeon to discuss Olivia’s digits and whether they needed to be removed.

She had an xray to see if there was bone in her digits and if she had her wrist, but we won’t know until she is a little bit older. The plastic surgeon advised us to have her digits removed, but we decided not too. We phoned Claire and arranged to pop round for a coffee where we also met her mum. This was really helpful for us. They were so welcoming and we relaxed straight away. Claire allowed us to bombard her with a lot of questions and she told us a bit about her life and achievements, she also gave us some really helpful advice and suggested getting a second opinion.

After meeting Claire any worries we had about Olivia’s future were all but gone and a weight had been lifted off our shoulders. We now meet regularly and have become friends. We asked to be referred to Queen Mary’s Hospital Roehampton for a second opinion and thank goodness we did as Olivia did not need to have her digits removed, this is a decision for her to make when she’s older.

OL’ SMOKEY EYES Professional model Kelly Knox, one of the REACH Ambassadors, organised a make-up workshop for members at Illamasqua in Soho in London. When we entered, it looked like a fashionable boutique with elegant décor and a rainbow of colour from the displays of make-up. There was an area sectioned off for demonstrations, and we sat there and watched Ben the make-up artist demonstrate on a team member how to create the ‘smokey eye’ effect. In order to illustrate how the make-up can accentuate the eyes, Ben left one side of the model’s face without any make-up. The contrast was amazing. With a very steady hand, Ben used creams and powders to define the model’s eyebrow and eye. During the demonstration, Ben answered questions and gave little tips on how to highlight cheek bones and jaw lines. The final result was fabulous. Children and parents found it very informative and afterwards had fun trying the different products in the shop. It was also a lovely opportunity to meet other REACH members and share their experiences. Joanie Bannister



We found out about Olivia’s arm at our 20 week scan, we were both shocked, I was speechless and Graham fainted. We left the hospital and both broke down, the hardest thing was telling our family, it was hard to get the words out.


OUR HIGH ACHIEVERS AT HOME ... Cyrus is an entrepreneur whose skills are in demand. The nearly 13 year old is king of the DJ deck and does a gig every two weeks, from graduate parties in Oxford to charity events. The fact he is missing his lower left arm has never held him back. From tying shoe laces to street dancing, he is the man! DJ-ing took over his life when his dad David suggested he graduate from a computer game called DJ Hero to his own DJ deck. “I was nine and at that dance school. I got the and gave up dance for paid for doing it though if it is a charity thing.

time in the Foot Loose decks and kept doing it a while and now I get sometimes I do it for free

“I don’t use my prosthetic arm when I’m DJ-ing. In the DJ-ing world it’s not about you it’s about how you do things and about the music. “I went to the Point Blank Music School in London and they taught me. My dad did most of the work but the school helped me as well, with little tricks and techniques. I want to do DJ-ing as a job, possibly in Ibiza where there are big tourist resorts and nightclubs. “My parents are very supportive and I have quite a musical family. I used to play the trombone and my mum used to play the cello.”

A new role model ‘across the Pond’!

AMBASSADOR KELLY KNOX WILL BE CHALLENGING PERCEPTIONS ON CHANNEL 4 IN OCTOBER Kelly Knox is a new cast member in the second series of I’m Spazticus, Channel 4’s hidden camera comedy show. Acting is a new string to her bow: “I’m really enjoying it,” she said. “It’s something that I never thought of before but after I met the production team, and they’re such a lovely bunch, I thought I really love this and I wanna do this. It’s also about educating the public about disability... we can be fit and funny... and at their expense!”

American Nicole Kelly, 23, who was born without her left forearm, was crowned Miss Iowa 2013. “Perhaps I didn’t originally envision this path,” she said, “But being Miss Iowa is the perfect fit for me. Giving a voice to my platform, Overcoming Disabilities, is a tremendous honor, and I am thrilled to continue my adventure by speaking out and touching lives as Miss Iowa 2013.” Kelly will compete for Miss America in September when she will be speaking about the importance of never giving in. “I tried everything!” she said.



Although Kelly thinks disability has been accepted in sport and the situation on TV is improving, she says that it is still lagging behind in fashion. “They need to get with the times. It’s 2013. They need to start using disabled models on a regular basis, not just for gimmicky campaigns, but in every campaign they do.” I’m Spazticus’ is made by a disabled cast, bringing together funny and edgy sketches, often at the expense of the able-bodied public.

... AND OVERSEAS Namit Katariya, from Pune in India, is a Reach child who was not born with a missing hand but lost his arm in an accident with a lift when he was 11 – it was his right hand that he used for writing.

“For some moments, life ahead looked full of darkness,” wrote his father Sunil, “But the mind of we family members was not ready to accept the problem as “Problem”. We left the nervousness just behind. No giving up. We took up the challenge. We believed in God. We decided to be strong, undisturbed in the given situation. Namit too was very strong, courageous to face the challenge.” Sunil and Savita, Namit’s mother, encouraged him to be positive, and within days of the amputation he was teaching himself to write with his left hand and within 10 weeks he was drawing as well as he had before the accident. “Maintaining the same spirit as before the accident, he obtained good ranks in school and also got number of awards, medals, certificates in school as well as extra curricular activities, at state level and national level. The list of certificates and awards would occupy more than 150 rows of an excel sheet.

“Namit has graduated with a BTech in computer science from the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), in Mumbai, one of the top most reputed technical institute in India. He also scored very highly in tests required by American universities, enabling him to study for a Masters Degree at Carnegie Mellon University. “He has already submitted an international research paper which won a Silver Award in the International Conference on Data Mining in Brussels and he has been singled out by the Dean , Namit plays badminton, table tennis, football and rides a bicycle. He is currently on an internship at Linkedin in California. “I am grateful to all my family members, friends, teachers professors and mentors who have all supported me,” said Namit.

Commercial lawyers Clarke Willmott LLP and barristers King’s Bench Walk raised £1,700 for Reach through their Amputation Training Day in June The Amputation Training Day was aimed at both treatment and care providers at intermediate to advanced level and members of the legal profession involved in the area of personal injury and clinical negligence. The programme covered the rehabilitation experience of a hand amputee, prosthetic provision to include recent developments, vehicle and home adaptations, medical rehabilitation, cosmetic surgery issues and information on presentation of claims for amputation injuries. Speakers included Steve Trump, Partner, Clarke Willmott LLP; Jo Dixon, National Co-ordinator, Reach, Guest Charity; Dr Van Ross, PACE rehab; James Groux, Architect of Building Design Workshop; David Vooght, GM Coachwork; Freya Newbery, Counsel; Alasdair Gilbertson, Ottobock; Jim Bonney, Adventure Rehab; Frank Burton QC, Counsel; and Umraz Khan, Consultant plastic Surgeon. “It was a great day with motivating and interesting speakers and we were really pleased with the amount,” said Jo. “Attendees included Occupational Therapists, Pysios, barristers, lawyers, limb centres and people from the voluntary sector and it was a really informative day. I was asked to present the work of Reach at the start of the day and all the fees were donated to us which was brilliant.” Jo is pictured receiving the cheque for £1,700 from Stephen Trump.




THE MYOELECTRIC ARM CERYS IS ONE VERY SATISFIED CUSTOMER “Cerys, aged nine, had been asking about a myoelectric arm for some time,” said mum Linda, “So we thought we would try our luck and ask our limb centre at Oxford about it. She has always had a cosmetic one - her first at around seven months old - but she has never been an avid wearer. “Since starting school, however, she has always used one in the classroom when writing, to help with her posture. These have been purely cosmetic, except for one she had when she was about four, which was a split hook which she used quite well. As she got older she disliked its appearance and also hated the strap that went around her shoulder! We asked her O.T. about a myoelectric arm and she made us an appointment with Dom Hannett, Cerys’ prosthetist.

Sometimes my arm aches after I have been using it a lot but it’s not too bad. My friends at school are amazed by it but I don’t let them play with it.

“After discussing why she wanted one, we had a series of appointments to see if Cerys could work the sensor which is controlled by her twitching a muscle in her little arm. She managed it, but the next most difficult part was finding a way for the arm to stay on, as Cerys has her elbow joint but very little forearm below, so the prosthesis has to be attached above her elbow which then restricts elbow movement.

I really wanted a myoelectric arm because I had seen them at the Reach AGM and thought they looked good. I had to go to Oxford for lots of appointments but it was worth it. I am really pleased with my new arm and can do lots with it although I still need lots of practice so I can get really good with it.

“After many visits and I’m sure lots of sleepless nights for Dom Hannett, the arm was finally made! Cerys still needs lots of training to get to a stage where she can use it without thinking, but she has picked it up very easily and is very happy with it. She says her new arm helps her to hold things steady such as a pencil sharpener or a pot of bubbles. Also she can pick things up with it and is pictured left building a tower of blocks. I would definitely recommend trying for one but just beware - it involves very many appointments.”

AND A WORD FROM REACH TRUSTEE, PROSTHETIST DOM HANNETT “Myoelectric prostheses have been around in various forms for many years on the NHS. In principle, they work by capturing the tiny trace of electricity that is present in a muscle when it contracts. When we make any kind of movement, an electrical signal from the brain is sent through the nerves to the muscle affected, to ‘tell it’ to move. We can use custom electrodes to sit against the skin and detect the electricity that travels in the body. When the signal is detected, it can be used to trigger an action in an artificial device – often a hand. So, for example, if the electrode sits against the muscle that is traditionally used to open the hand, we can capture the signal and use it to open an artificial one. “This makes movement of opening an artificial hand more natural as it does not require pulleys or cables to pull the hand open. However, it does take a lot of practice and we can tell from research, that people who have worn a non myoelectric prosthesis before trying a myo prosthesis, are far more likely to be able to get the myoelectric hand to function. This is because they are used to having their arm inside a socket and can cope with the extra weight which comes with the electronics required to achieve myoelectric control. Not everyone can get used to controlling the muscles and there are test systems available to see if you have a sufficiently detectable level of electricity in the muscle and if you can control the electricity signals. Your limb centre will have more information.”



ONE HAND ON THE REINS Having always loved horses and riding, I was particularly interested to see the number of pictures posted on Facebook of Reach children enjoying ponies. And it makes perfect sense, particularly for children who have one hand. Since humans first climbed on horseback they have been using horses as a platform from which to fight one another - and that means that at least one hand has needed to be free to wield a weapon. Well - Reach children don’t need to sword fight on horseback - but the fact is that controlling a horse one-handed has a very long pedigree. Cavalrymen still learn to ride using just their left hand, and when did you ever see a cowboy or polo player riding with two hands on the reins? There are some amazing role models too for children who have both arms missing but would love to ride.

Jane the Ed

Look at Debbie Criddle, who won medals at the London Olympics despite having just one arm, and Bettina Eistel from Germany who won medals with no arms.

This is me on Maggie! I love horse riding. It is my favourite hobby, I feel very lucky as I have a friend who lives close and owns five horses and let’s me help look after them.

The horses enjoy being groomed and I muck pick which isn’t my favourite job! Once a week I go to the local riding stables where I am given a lesson. I find horse riding fun and relaxing. Lucy

We featured Beth in the Spring issue!

Daniel Tennant loves riding and manages to hold the reins with his two short arms.

Proud mum Stephanie says He rides with a normal riding school hes gets on great the strong legs come in handy for balance!

Abby has ridden since she was 18 months but her mum is concerned as she uses a hook to hold the right rein which could cause problems if she fell off. Riding for the Disabled told me they are starting a programme to train instructors at mainstream riding schools on how to approach teaching children with a deficiency. As so many Reach children enjoy riding, I hope to be following this issue up in the next edition of Within Reach, so watch out for some horsey tips from the experts!

*** THANK YOU *** THANK YOU *** THANK YOU *** Huge thanks to all the people who donated to Reach to mark Charlotte Fielder’s 50th birthday. At least 22 families contributed to a fantastic total of £660.

who put in such a lot of training in awful weather to achieve their sporting goal as well as raise wonderful donations for Reach. Hope you are all fully recovered!

Thanks also to all the family and friends who donated to Reach to mark the passing of Samuel Drayton’s great grandma. They raised a magnificent £910.

Thanks to everyone who donated at Heather Snelling’s Kent Garden Party which raised an amazing £1,270, and to those who sponsored Tom Hammond’s Cairngorms Challenge Trek who raised £80, the Armitage family clothing sale, £150, the Neale’s concert £308, the Button coffee morning and lunch £285, Billington shareholders £750, pub quizzes £155, Alby School £252.50 and more but I have run out of space!

A special thank you to Lesia Caseley and Paul Tucker who made a generous donation to Reach Out and Shop. Lesia helped set it up too! Thanks to all our determined London Marathon runners




NEWS & VIEWS SNIPPETY SNIP SNIP! I’ve been trying to bring out Owain’s creative side recently. He’s been baking, painting, doing jigsaws, colouring, using playdough, sticking... but one thing was proving to be quite tricky, cutting. I had let Owain experiment with my standard righty scissors but it just wasn’t happening. He was born without a right hand and only a small, part-formed left hand, and it was clear he was going to need something other than a ‘normal’ pair of scissors. So, as my husband works in a school, we borrowed a variety of scissors... lefties, scissors with loops, but Owain would get a little down that he couldn’t do it. Then I came across a catalogue that advertised an Occupational Therapy scissor kit. I spoke with the OT at the Limb Centre – she didn’t have a scissor kit, had never heard of it and felt it was too expensive for the centre to invest in. But talking to Jo Dixon one day, I shared my scissor frustration with her and she suggested that Reach could buy the kit, Owain could be the first to try it out (provided I write it up for Within Reach!) and then it could be made available for other Reach members to use. When the kit arrived, I grabbed the Argos catalogue, some paper and glue and just let Owain try all of the scissors. He had loads of fun! But better still he found two pairs of scissors that he could use – an Easi Grip left scissor with a stand and a push down table top scissor which I had no idea existed. So I would like to say a big ‘thank you’ to Jo for buying the kit. But I would also recommend that anyone who is having a problem with scissors should try the kit. It contains all sorts of scissors and it was great to be able to just try things out, without experiencing that sense of failure when a pair didn’t work, because it doesn’t matter as you can just try the next pair in the box!

DLA GETTING ON YOUR PIP? Most people on Disability Living Allowance or with a child receiving this benefit will be aware that things have changed this year. On renewal of their DLA those over 16 will now be applying for Personal Independent Payment, while those under 16 will still be applying under the old criteria of DLA. The main difference between the new payments and DLA is that the cooking test, which gave access to the lowest rate of the benefit, is now abolished. In my experience most of our members over 16 and with one functioning hand received the lowest rate of the care component because they were deemed to need help preparing a main meal. As this criterion has been abolished, the only way the over 16-yearold can receive the lowest rate is for help reasonably required with personal hygiene for a significant period of the day. In October, I am attending training for those like myself who are tribunal panel members, so I shall hopefully have a better insight into the workings of PIPs. In the meantime if you or your child has a DLA award that is up for renewal under the PIP regulations, I would recommend that you study the claim form carefully and maybe seek help from one of the advisory groups such as Citizens Advice Bureau. When I know more, I shall let members know. Frank Letch, Director of Reach.


Just get in touch with Jo to find out how you can borrow the kit. Melissa Beesley MIXING WORK WITH PLEASURE! I work for an amazing company called DRL Ltd which most of you may know as Appliances we are quite possibly the most fun place to work! Each month DRL choose a charity to support that is close to an employee’s heart. We have a ‘dress down week’ and other fundraising activities and staff can choose to donate £5 for the week to dress in casual clothes. I nominated Reach and you can imagine my delight when they told me that they had chosen it. I sent a little ‘blog’ about why me to everyone who works for week raised a fantastic £1,475! to collect used postage stamps boxes around the business.

Reach was so dear to DRL and dress down DRL have also agreed and we have collection

Lauren came into ‘Mummy’s work’ to just basically show off and wow people with her infectious smile. Thank you to DRL, all the Directors and staff for their fantastic contributions and the support they have given me, Mark and my little star Lauren. Carolyn Wilding



Carol Hodge was inspired this year by an article all about minimalist living and the benefits of reducing the contents of her wardrobe and her home in general. “I decided to sell an item a day on Ebay, for a whole year, and donate all the proceeds to Reach. I started in March and have already raised over £100. “Please have a look on my Ebay page, which is updated weekly with new items: “I have been a Reach member for several years and I am really pleased that I can contribute and help!”

BRANCH NEWS South Wales Branch Trip to Folly Farm Sunday 14th July: Well, on one of the baking hot days in the crazy heatwave, dedicated Reach families from the South Wales region sweltered in their cars to make their way to Folly Farm. On arrival, we soon decided to ditch our pre-booked indoor picnic venue – I have little faith in the Welsh weather – and we found ourselves a shady spot and some benches. For a good couple of hours we picnicked and caught up on the gossip. The children played in the sand pits and wooden play areas nearby. Some also had a little game of golf and skittles. Then we decided to go our separate ways to explore the farm. We kept bumping into each other as we went around. Parents struggled to pull children out of the vintage fun fair... the giraffes and penguins were gorgeous... and many ice lollies were consumed! All in all a really good day out... but one of the nicest things was to watch the children and their developing friendships. Parents became excited at the prospect of the ‘Reach children’ having friends that they could relate to and really get to know over the years. Thanks all for coming. Melissa Beesley

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A TOUCH OF HOLLYWOOD GLAMOUR AT THE BALL One of the biggest events in our event calendar is our Reach May Ball, and this year we raised a breath-taking £13,000. Woodbury Park Golf and Country Club, near Exeter, was a successful choice of venue. This is the first time the Ball had been there, chosen because the event has now grown so big over recent years. This is the fourth year we have arranged this event, and, along with my team of committed friends the number of revellers has doubled in size in that time. This shows what a great event it has become. Over 200 guests attended this year and all the rooms at the hotel were occupied with guests who were making a weekend of it. My husband Stuart even arranged a fun four-ball golf event for the Saturday morning, which was a real hit with the gents. Each year I arrange for the ladies to have their hair and make up applied in the hotel’s salon and as ever they loved it. The theme for this year’s ball was “Hollywood” and the room looked stunning, with a black and white theme, candlabras and the biggest gold star made out of balloons that you could imagine. We were so lucky that Ottobock Healthcare agreed to be the main sponsors for the 3rd year running, and they have already kindly offered to sponsor next year’s ball! Other sponsors included Opcare, Telnames, Irwin Mitchell and Sonic Event Services. Without these major contributors, the event would not be nearly as successful and no doubt we wouldn’t have raised as much funds.



We again had a successful Grand Auction along with an amazing basket raffle which is always a great fundraiser and sends winners away with a smile! Many thanks to all who contributed to the auction and raffle. If there are any companies or families reading this who would like to sponsor part of next year’s Ball, Please contact me as soon as you can. Your support would be much appreciated by the charity. Date for the diary year’s May Ball is on 10th May 2014 and will be held again at Woodbury Park. It would be great to see more of our Reach families attend next year as you really will love it. So, in summary... fun.... glitz.... glamour..... laughter..... entertainment......all contributed to a great night for everyone and some great funds for our lovely charity! Siân Brooks ANYONE FOR ICED GATEAU? Jacob and his friend Tilly braved freezing rain and snow to raise money for charity with a cake sale. They made a total of £22 and divided it equally between Reach and a local charity.

CAMP TYNCAE We had a super weekend and the weather was fantastic. Everyone enjoyed the activities fishing, glass painting, cartoon sketching and fruit flan filling (for the sweet on Saturday evening after the BBQ). Activities were held in the local leisure centre followed by swimming at Tregaron pool. We provided a buffet lunch on Saturday and the families played rugby in the evening, trying their hand at first aid with demonstrations given by St John Ambulance Cardiff. A picnic lunch donated by Morrisons of Aberystwyth was consumed at Fantasy Farm Park where the families fed lambs, petted different kinds of animals, had a tractor and trailer ride, went on bumper boats and paddle boats, go-karts and even rode a rodeo bull! Back home we provided soup and jacket potatoes and last year’s winner read out the family quiz.

Monday morning was prize-giving with a special Reach medallion. Luckily all the tents were down before the ‘monsoon’ started and suggestions were given for next year’s camp! As usual, everyone had a terrific time which makes this such a worthwhile weekend. Dawn Davis

A VOTE OF APPROVAL FROM THE HENDRY FAMILY There was quite some build up to Camp Tyncae this year on Facebook. “Have you checked your tent?” “Are you packed?” Adults and children alike all getting excited for the annual trip up into the hills above Tregaron in Mid Wales. The main question in my mind was, “ How wet will it be?” but it was the wind that was the problem this year. Thank goodness for the fantastic team spirit of the families that go to Tyncae, as without their help, our tent would have landed in Shropshire somewhere. This was our third trip to Tyncae with our three children. Iola was just 5 months old on our first trip and it was such a nurturing weekend that we have made sure we are free every Whitsun weekend since. It was particularly exciting for us as Iola is now very aware of her “nubby arm” and asks about why she didn’t grow an arm and whether she can grow a hand. It really helps her when she sees her “nubby friends” and finds out how to do new things. 2013 saw another well organised collection of events. Rob and Dawn spend hours organising workshops,

visits, swimming, fun games and meals. Not to mention getting the field ready, booking loos, showers and getting the marquee ready. They are quite an amazing team with their four boys! I am surprised that everyone managed to leave the baby rabbits behind at Fantasy Farm Park and that nobody capsized a boat. Of course what is really special is spending quality time with people who have one main thing in common. It is so lovely to speak openly and share experiences without sorrow or sympathy. It is good honest family fun with the added bonus of discussing practical solutions to some of the little things we may need to make life a little more accessible for our little ones. So - if you have not quite managed to join us yet – join the Facebook page and gather up tent, waterproofs, warm gear and wellies – we look forward to seeing you next May …… it IS going to be a scorcher! THANK YOUs to Rob, Dawn and boys; Morrisons, of Aberystwyth, Monica and Chris Rose for their kind donation, Tony Rowley and Del Jones (glass workshop), Jay Munson, Katy Bloxham, Pete and Georgina Whipp and Eifion Davies (fishing), Glenys Jones at Tregaron RC, Dorion Rees at Tregaron Leisure Centre, Eli Leight-Jones and Sion Porter BBQ, Ros and Mike Imperato and Roger form St John Ambulance, staff at Fantasy Farm Park Cardiff, Glen Heke donation, John Lewis donation.


SUMMER 2013 ISSUE 123 P19


LOOK HOW IT ALL ADDS UP A week of fundraising events in Burton on Trent and Cornwall has paid off raising a bumper total of £1,552.05 plus for REACH. Lizzie Barrow and her husband Jason raised over £1,000. Jason and his colleagues took home-made cakes and cookies to work and sold them at lunch time at their work place at AEC in Derby, resulting in an amazing £700. Lizzie Barrow organised a raffle and held a coffee and cake afternoon with her mum, and this together with the raffle tickets sold at AEC, resulted in another £317.05. (5p donated by her daughter Isabelle, aged two, for her cake!) At the same time, 500 miles away in Cornwall, Lizzie’s sister, Johanna Smith spent a week raising money with “guess how many sweets are in the jar” plus a “Bring and Buy” of nearly new clothes held at her home in Playing Place near Truro. This coupled with donations from work colleagues and associates at Falmouth College, saw her raise another £535. “I just can’t believe Lizzie. “Everyone has great time organising This is the first time but can’t wait to do


how generous people are,” said been so kind and we had a and holding the coffee afternoon. I have done anything like this another one next year!”


In May, Louise Reid from Kent Branch cycled from West Lancashire to East Yorks, a distance of 170 miles over two days, through the Yorkshire Dales, and raised £1,100 for Reach. Her verdict? “Just horrendous. I didn’t enjoy it because it was really difficult terrain. “I got the map and looked at the terrain and thought it was a bit hilly but from mile 35 to 62 it was relentless. The hills of Kent are nothing compared with Lancashire and though I trained a lot for it, had I known the hills were going to be so tough – 18% gradient I would have focused more on them rather than distance cycling. “I did it for Reach as my niece was born without her lower left arm and hand. “Then in June we had the Sandwich French Weekend. The town is twinned with Honfleur and on Saturday there were Cancan dancers plus a food market and a Petit Tour de Sandwich and fun for the kids. “On Sunday we have a big cycle ride, La Tour de Sandwich, split into 50, 75 and 100k distances. I have been involved over the years in the cycle event and this year we had 360 riders which was manic but we raised £5,000 and £1,000 went to Reach. My youngest sister’s girl scooted the mini tour. We also baked a cake for people to guess the weight, raising £30.”

FUNDRAISING THOSE MARATHONS..... A big “Thank you” to Maria Twigg’s twin sister, Sharon Collingwood, who has raised £837.75 for Reach by running the London Marathon. “My son Dylan was born in 2005 without a right hand,” said Maria. “Sharon and I were pregnant at the same time. She gave birth to Lauren in August and I had Dylan in October, so there is only seven weeks between our children. Even though Sharon had a young baby she was always there for me and gave me so much support. “It was Sharon who searched for information on the internet and found Reach for us. As we live nearby to each other, our children have always been close and played together. Dylan’s cousins, Eleanor and Lauren, have always looked out for him and his Auntie Sharon has been such a huge emotional support to me. Dylan is now a confident, happy seven year old boy who doesn’t let anything get in his way. He is able to do and enjoy all the things his cousin does, he may just have to find a slightly different way of doing some things.

“Sharon raised a total of £1,675 and split the money she equally between Reach and Cancer Research, as both charities are close to her heart.”

Robert Grey ran the London Marathon this year and raised just over £1,500 for Reach. We are all so proud of him and look forward to doing more fundraising in the future.

My parents Roger and Dot do most of the tombolas and car boot sales and fundraising at Wolverhampton stores. Also help on the main event in Tettenhall Green along with my sister Marie, her hubby Jason, daughter Alicia, my Aunty Jean, wife Joanne and our boys Josh, a Reach member, and Matthew. Thanks to everyone who donated prizes and especially my Dad and Mom. Without them we would not even be able to make money for Reach. Geoff Chilton.

What a week! Alongside my Slimming World class collection, another one was held in my mother’s class, raising an extra £35. A further £20 has been collected at our local Rugby Club, courtesy of my father. The Virgin Cyclone Bike Challenge was ‘hard but worth it for such a wonderful charity’ and the weather was just right. The boys did great and both said they would do it again. Our Keith finished in about five hours and my cousin in six - heroes, the pair of them! Their online sponsorship (including gift aid is currently £722) with offline sponsors looking to come in at least an approximate additional £550 (excl gift aid). The majority of the latter came via my smashing Auntie Doreen and her friends at the university. Her contacts have made Reach a new charity for companies to consider for their fundraising and she has opened the door for other fundraising ideas. We gave out leaflets and balloons whilst awaiting the boys’ return and awareness raising continued after the race with the boys wearing their shirts to the pub for celebrating. Proud mother/sister/cousin/daughter and Reach member, Ann Byers


SUMMER 2013 ISSUE 123 P21

NEWS FROM THE SOUTH WEST DEVON & SOMERSET BRANCH We had our summer get-together at Woodlands Theme Park in June. Despite the rain in the morning we had a great time with an indoor picnic in the barn, which gave everyone a chance to chat. Then the sun came out and we watched Elliott’s bug handling session and set about going on as many rides as time permitted. I know that one family stayed till closing time, they were enjoying it so much. I am proud to say that my son Dale has obtained a place in the London Marathon 2014 running on behalf of Reach. Dale ran the London 10k Run in 2011 and raised several hundred pounds for Reach. That was the first time he had run any great distance and 2014 will be the second! Dale will be setting up a website for donations, or they may be sent direct to me to pass on. More details later. We hope to organise another day out later in the year, so I’ll keep you posted. Our family Christmas Party is booked for 2-5pm on Sunday 8th December at Alphington Sports Club, Exeter, so put it in your diary now. Jill Hamilton

HEY LOOK WHAT WE FOUND! After meeting several times at the Reach Family Weekend and becoming friends, the Gribble and Scott families spent a day out together in South Devon. Harry (9) and Rebecca (7) are Reach children and with their brothers and sisters, they had a great time. The best part of the day was crabbing at Dartmouth, using Gribbles Butchers’ bacon as bait (excuse the shameless advertising....). Within 30 minutes the children had hauled in 15 crabs. There was lots of excitement mixed with a bit of groaning as some other bigger ones fell off the crabbing lines and back into the water before making it into the buckets. The children were delighted when Harry suddenly shouted “Look I’ve found a Reach crab!”, a crab with a front pinching claw missing. A second Reach crab was found soon after, so Rebecca and Harry had met their match, with a left-handed and a right-handed Reach crab for all to see. Catherine Scott



I beat Mo Farah

I was offered a London Marathon place through REACH as my son Finnian, 4, is a member. He was born with symbrachydactly (left hand) I was put in contact with REACH and it has been invaluable to us as family with information and support where needed. Considering I couldn’t run for 26.2 seconds four years ago, my ambition of a 26.2 mile run was always going to be a huge challenge - even more so with the longest winter ever! Training took me through some very early mornings in extremely icy conditions but I got to the start line knowing that I was as prepared as I could ever be. The race was amazing - the support along the route I cannot put into words - and whilst I struggled as I hit the 21 mile mark I kept going at a slow but steady pace - crossing the finish line in 5hrs 14mins. I want to did I fulfil £1,500 for pulled out

thank REACH for the opportunity. Not only a lifetime ambition, as well as raise over REACH. I also beat Mo Farah (as he halfway)! Gemma Pedlar (Hertfordshire)

THE CROCKY TRAIL On Saturday 22nd June, we met up at the Crocky Trail near Chester for a fun day. We started off on the huge slides, (which even 2 year old Andrew went on) and tried to stay sat on a slippery spinning disk as it whizzed around. Other activities included the Spider Trap, where we had to climb up a steep slope without anything to hold onto, and the Hamster Wheel which was like being spun around in a washing machine! Next, we set off on the mile long trail. It involved climbing over crooked, wobbly bridges, swinging over the stream on ropes, balancing on logs and finding our way through mazes. There was also a game where we had to try and kick a bucket that was suspended high in the air whilst we were on swings. There were a lot of other fun things to do throughout the trail as well. After completing and surviving the trail, a few of us went into the Dungeon, which was an almost pitch black haunted house filled with scary pictures, lights and people jumping out at us. I think my dad screamed the most! We also tried the climbing wall and tried to stay at the top of another slippery slope while the floor was slowly raised up on the ‘Titanic’. After all the activities, we were very hungry. We all brought our own picnics and were treated to a slice of delicious birthday cake from Kian, who was celebrating with his family and friends. We had a great time and were lucky with the weather, although it would have been just as much fun in the rain, getting extra wet and muddy! Daniel and Rachel Stoliar

The NORTHERN IRELAND branch recently received a donation from the Mayor of Newtownabbey of £4,400.00. Throughout his year as the mayor he held a number of charity events and at the end the total amount raised was divided between three charities – Reach, Alzheimer’s Society and Epilepsy UK. The marathon relay team raised over £700. The race was completed in 4 hours 56 minutes. We’re planning to run again next year to try and beat our time. Lynne Chalmers

The NORTH EAST Branch had their Easter meeting at Blyth Swimming Baths. It was a great success with lots of families attending. The children enjoyed a swim, followed by a buffet lunch. Our summer event will be at The Lakes Zoo, on Sunday 15th September, meeting at 10.30am. This year East meets West as East and West branches come together and everyone is welcome. Hope to see you all there, Joanne.




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