Sunday, 27 May 2012

Carrying on... & Camping. Sunday 27th May

Carrying on....

Since the "televised" walk to school, Ev has completed a couple morewalks to school. There have been no cameras, no radio, no press, no paparrazzi and not even any Olympic bound paralympians waiting for him. Yet, they have been as important and one thing has been the same, the good wishes from passers by and those who pass us on their own school run. And Ev, he's still been there battling away - as it is a battle for him and our job is simply to walk alongside and to cajole, motivate and try to inspire Ev to make it there (as well as arrange people who will very kindly take Sam and Maya to school for us - it's no fun for them taking an hour to get to school). The walks haven't been easy for him, and one a week is still about the most he can do. However, he's getting there and it's having a great impact on his walking in general.

and camping...

As I write this now, I'm sat, fairly tired, slightly sunburnt, but having had a great weekend away with the Yummy Mummies and Desperadoes (aka a number of close friends who forged an even greater friendship around the fundraising we did). My reticence at wanting to go camping is well documented across that group of friends and while there are a couple of reasons for that, the main one for me is it being slightly more difficult to do camping with Ev and how easy/difficult it is to get around. Now, for Loup, that's more of a reason to do it. So do it we did.

We've been lucky with the weather and that has really helped - we were also really lucky that we had a great location and so many people to help out. However, a couple of things really stand out and show Ev's challenges but also how lucky we are with who we have around us.

On Saturday afternoon we had a massive game of rounders and split into two teams. Loup joined in with Ev - which took the form of carrying him round from base-to-base, which was no mean feat in the weather, but as he stood to face his first ball all of the kids shouted, unprompted, "come on, Ev!!". Afterwards, in the glow of joining in (and Ev goes one of two ways when faced with joining in - all-in or all-out), Ev asked if he could have a go in the goals. "ok,...." I said, and even Loup was a little bit nervous of this, but there was little need to worry.

The kids split into two teams and one them shouted, "ok, Ev's in the goals - you can still score but dont shoot hard.". I was still a bit apprehensive but it was amazing - having watched a day full of 5 - 9 year olds and associated argy-bargy - the ensuing, and again umprompted, tenderness was really heart-warming. Ev saved a couple, missed a couple but really enjoyed it and then one of the kids from another camp who had joined in didnt realise and shot a bit too hard. Ev saved it, but took one to the stomach.


Not a problem. Kids play football, kids get hurt, kids have a great time.....

Wednesday, 2 May 2012

Just another school run...? Wednesday 2nd May

Even on a "normal" day (if there is such a thing?) I would describe the school run as "hectic". How wrong I've been.....

Today started off as per usual for a Wednesday - Breakfast (Crumpets for Maya, Poached eggs for Ev and Boiled eggs for Sam today) and Grandma Skipton arrived, but then the TV crews and Radio Leeds arrived as well (and I was still in my PJ's). Not standard that, not even for a Wednesday.

Evan's school had been taking part in an Olympic related event at school ( and as part of this he has set himself the target of walking to school to earn his school some miles/points. He has had a couple of practise runs previously (see previous blogs for detail) and today was the day that was chosen for his first day to walk to school.

This had all been co-ordinated with and by Evan's teaching assistant (Mrs Court) who saw his participation in this as being something to really aim for. We knew there was going to be some press coverage, although we thought it might be a bit of local press and maybe a camera or two - perhaps even a TV camera. Someone asked us how Ev would be in front of the cameras - we knew he'd be fine (in fact, he was a little bit envious of his SDR buddy Ben, if truth be told...) - it was me and Loup that were worried.

Loup did a piece (Live!) on Radio Leeds ( listen from 1:16:57) which we listened to in the kitchen, huddled round the radio, and then we set off just after 8 as we knew it would take him about an hour, every step followed by two tv cameras.

Evocative of the fundraising, people waved from windows (they know who they are :) ), cars stopped and people shouted good luck. He was actually going quicker than expected so he had a sit down and an interview. As you do... Then we progressed up Elliott St and we were met with a wall of sound - kids, teachers and parents from Aire View all cheering him along. Probably not the best thing to say as I write the blog, but there are no words to describe it.... 

He was now on the last leg, and as he rounded the corner we could see Hannah Cockcroft - local paralympian (and world champion and world record holder as well who was meeting him as part of this. 

Radio Leeds also did an interview with Hannah. 

They had a quick chat and he was nearly there. This time, his school friends lined the way and, pretty bizarrely at the end was a collection of journalists with long lenses. We also met up with some of the team from the LOCOG (London Organising Committee for the Olympic Games) and also Education team who had worked on this. The back streets of South View Terrace have never seen anything like it....  

More photos, more TV interviews, more radio items, local and national press and then we went down to join the assembly that Hannah was giving to the whole school (a weird experience for me given that I last attended a Hothfield assembly in 1983...).

We waved goodbye to Hannah and everyone else who had turned a school run into another remarkable experience - all as part of Evan's Big Journey. 
I'm sure there will be further follow-ups as the story gets out - and it should, SDR CHANGES LIVES! 

What next for us and Ev.... another school run tomorrow, of course.