lanyon Bowdler

Beth Harrison, Solicitor with Lanyon Bowdler blogs on our meeting.

Beth writes-

Beth HarrisonYesterday I had the pleasure of attending the Shropshire Disability Network Members’ Meeting and hearing about the great work they do in the community.

Safe Places

This initiative is ever expanding, with a fantastic number of businesses in Shropshire signig up to the project, where vulnerable people can go if they feel threatened or need help.

The Shropshire Disability Network is also trying to raise awareness and battle the nationwide problem of people parking and blocking pavements. Actions such as these put lives at risk, as people are forced to step into the road.

See and Hear Exhibition

Shropshire Disability Network is proud to announce its involvement with the See and Hear Exhibition in Shropshire on 10 May 2017. Shropshire Disability Network will be hosting the Boccia tournament as they did last year and I will be popping down between 10am-4pm to try my hand.

New £1 coins

As many of you may be aware that at the end of this month, the new £1 coin comes into circulation. The new 12 sided coin looks pretty special, but the question is what should you do with your old £1 coins which are only valid for use until October? Shropshire Disability Network has the answer… ….they have launched a ‘Give your last £1’ project to collect old £1 coins in order to raise funds for the charity. I picked up a pot today to fill and I am sure my colleagues at Lanyon Bowdler will be digging deep.

Bed sore app

I was lucky enough to hear from some excellent speakers at the meeting. The first was David Sandbach who spoke in relation to healthcare and digital technology. He showed us various different apps which can be used to monitor your health, but I think my favourite was a bed sore app. Bed sores make people’s lives a misery and cost the NHS an arm and a leg to deal with. This app measures the size of the sore and the percentage of necrosis. It has been recommended for use by Community Nurses as it is an accurate record of assessing how the bed sore is progressing.

Jess the Goth Fairy

The second speakers were Jo Almond and Jess Hiles, an inspirational mother and daughter team. Jess suffers with disability and her Mum, Jo, has been her carer. Jo is keen to raise awareness and fight for the carers and the loved ones who are often forgotten. Jo and Jess are releasing their third book of the ‘Jess the Goth Fairy’ series later this year with a launch planned in Shrewsbury on the Sabrina Boat for September or October 2017. This is definitely one to look out for.”

SDN says It was so pleasing to welcome back members & to meet with many new members at our meeting on 9th March. We thank all who enabled this meeting to be so successful. We hope to see many of you again on Thursday 8th June, when we meet at Casey’s Cordingley Hall, Donnington, TelfordTF2 8JS 

(More details )

We thank Beth for her support in attending our meeting and writing this blog for us.





Kelda writes-2017 Here We Come!

Kelda writes-2017 Here We Come!!

So, that’s 2016 put to bed and all eyes are now looking towards what 2017 will bring!

I know a lot of people have considered 2016 to be a bit of a stinker of a year….for me, I wouldn’t say it’s been a stinker, but it’s definitely been one hell of a journey and had it’s fair share of challenges!

This time last year I was just about to head out to Rio for a 3 week training camp in preparation for the Paralympic Games. From there followed the appeal against my non selection for the World Championships, the World Championships themselves, the final selections for Rio, coping with not making the team…..which then all lead to me joining the Adaptive Grand Slam Team and heading out to Chamonix in September. And now, I’m sitting here 12 months later, just 5 days away from getting back on a plane, but this time to take on a very different challenge!

I could never have imagined what these last 12 months were going to bring, and looking back, I’ve learnt 2 important things. Firstly, to enjoy the journey.

One thing has led onto another in a slightly crazy kind of way, but I could never have planned or expected the journey I’ve been on….so who knows what’s going to happen in 2017! But I’m determined to embrace and enjoy every bit of it, because the one thing I do know is that it will take me somewhere….it’s then up to me to make the best of wherever I end up.

The second thing I’ve come to realise, it’s that I’ve got a choice. 2016 had it’s testing times….but I made a conscious decision to choose to value all the amazing experiences I’ve had, good and bad, and to look at everything I’ve learnt, and use those learnings to keep moving forwards in a direction I want to go. And I’ve learnt so much….about the core values I want to live my life by, about the person I want to be, and about what is truly important to me. And with that in mind, I’m stepping into 2017 with a smile on my face and a determination that I may never have found if I hadn’t had the challenges of 2016…..and I’m making the choice to approach these next 12 months with a sense of belief in who I am and the person I want to be.


So, the first challenge of the New Year is Aconcagua! I’ll be setting off with the rest of the AGS team to climb the 7,000 metre peak in Argentina on the 6th January.


I know this is going to be one hell of a challenge! With the injury I have to my leg, it’s going to painful, there’s no escaping that….but I’m making a choice, and that choice is that I’m going to do everything in my power to climb this bloomin’ mountain!!!! I’m aware there are outside influences that we’ll have no control of, such as weather conditions and altitude, that may prevent us from submitting, but I’m choosing to approach this with a determination and positivity, that if this alone could get us to the top, then I’d have not a single doubt that we’d get there!

I know my leg is going to be painful, but when it starts to get tough, I decided to ask myself this question “Do you want to stop, more than you want to summit?”

I think we all know the answer I’m going to choose!



The Ramblings of a (technically) Failed Paralympian

Kelda Writes: The Ramblings of a (technically) Failed Paralympian

So Rio feels like it’s almost a distant memory…..and in what seems like a quick click of the fingers, everyone’s attention is turning to Tokyo.

I’ve always said that life is very much like a sat nav, you put in your destination and set off on your journey, but so often you come across hold ups or diversions that sends you on a different route….and sometimes you change your destination altogether.

Over the last 2 years I’ve been on the most incredible journey, some of it good, some of it not so good….and some of it bloomin’ amazing!! You never know quite where each turn is going to take you, and that’s never been more true than over the last 8 weeks.

Having failed to be selected for Rio, I was feeling pretty lost…..What was my goal? What was my motivation?…….

And then I was given the amazing opportunity to join the AGS Team.


The Adaptive Grand Slam Team are attempting the mountaineering Grand Slam, that’s the 7 highest peaks in the 7 continents, plus the North and South Pole. This is no mean feat….especially when you consider that they’re attempting to do it with an adaptive team, something that has never been done before. So everyone on the team is either registered disabled, or has been medically discharged from the military as a result of injury.

So just after watching my team mates smash it up in Rio, I headed off to Chamonix for a training week preparing for a summit attempt of Aconcagua, a 7,000m peak in Argentina.

It was the most incredible week with an awesome bunch of guys, and a week full of challenges, support, teamwork….and lots of laughs!

I could easily write this whole blog telling you about the week, the training we did, the highs, the lows, and how stunningly inspiring the mountains were….but there’s actually a different message I want to say. Because for me, the week reminded me of the person I want to be, and the values I want to live my life by. It wasn’t about being ‘the strongest’ or ‘the fastest’ or ‘the best’….it was about working as a team, supporting each other, and the challenge was between yourself and the mountains.

It made me stop and think….was paddling 200m faster than anyone else really so important!! Don’t get me wrong, every athlete wants to win, that’s the whole point in beating yourself every single day in training. But what really matters, what really counts, is about giving it your best. And if every day you strive to be the best version of yourself, you look out for other people, and you live your life by the values that are important to you, that, if you ask me, is what’s really important.

And so I’m smiling on so many levels, because since the end of the racing season, I’ve also been able to put some real time and effort into Climbing Out, something that’s so close to my heart, and something that I feel I’ve neglected while I’ve been focusing on Rio.

To see the growth and development of Climbing Out and the young people involved is something that makes me so, so proud….and there’s some amazing journeys going to happen over the coming months and years with the charity, and these will be journeys that I know will take so many young people to new and exciting places too.

Last weekend we ran a taster weekend involving several organisations that are looking to send young people on our programmes in the future. The passion, energy and enthusiasm from anyone was evidence of the great work the charity is doing, and with everyone working together, we will undoubtedly be able to reach more and more young people in need of support in the future.

So for me, what an amazing journey it’s been, and I’m excited about where it will take me next, and the people we can help along the way.

I didn’t end up going to the place I thought I was going to, but where I ended up, well that’s a pretty awesome place to be!




Doctors Advised to think -Could this be Sepsis?

Over recent months, Sepsis has hit the news headlines several times so we thought we would share with you this blog written by Lucy Small, Partner in Clinical Negligence at Lanyon Bowdler, Solicitors. 

Have a read here, symptoms can be vague  making diagnosis difficult. So what is Sepsis & can it be treated?

As the blog says “As a parent, partner, friend or family member the message is, ‘do not to be afraid to speak out if you think it might be sepsis’.”

Thank you to Lanyon Bowdler, Solicitors for allowing us to share your blog.

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Jo shares her experience of being a Mother, Carer -part 2

“Hitting 25, does it get easier or harder”

Hitting 25 everything gets harder and if you don’t have a label (which I hate) you have to fight for everything and Jess is unable to do this on her own! Recently Jess became partially sighted through eye surgery. Very little sight in her right and not perfect in the left, but we cannot register as her partially sighted because her left eye is too good! So we have gone through yet another assessment as the 12 hours care she receives to live on her own is not enough to cover her needs though better than the 2 she was originally awarded, but took legal action to get the 12 hours. But that assessment took place in May and still no news. We have been told she won’t lose any as can happen when a re-assessment takes place! Then there is the match funding out of Jess’s benefits for her direct payments, the yearly reviews, the change over from DLA to PIPS. I could go on.

Guilt! It is always there and no matter how hard you try to push it to the back of your brain it somehow worms its way back to the front. Was it my fault Jess is disabled, did I do something wrong during pregnancy? I doing the right thing in sending my child to a special school or should they remain in mainstream schooling? People say things that make you think you are a bad parent such as “should you really allow your daughter to do things other children do?” “Should you not live with your daughter?” But the hardest thing is trying to explain why you will go to the end of the earth to protect them and see they are safe, because they are unable to do this for themselves. Both my children are my world and I love them so much but with a child who is so vulnerable you go that extra mile!

But there is another side to all this. Despite all Jess’s difficulties I wouldn’t change her and I know her dad wouldn’t.

Jess has achieved so much in her life and we are so very proud of her. Jess now works 2 days a week in a garden nursery, she volunteers at a day centre helping to teach sign language. She is vice chair of People’s Parliament Worcestershire for disabilities. She as joined a signing choir. She does Special Olympics, 3 years ago winning gold and silver medals at the national games.

More recently  our second book was published which we co-wrote. As story about a disabled fairy called Jess. Jess is a fairy who looks different but just like Jess herself all she wants to do is be accepted in her community and help others. Jess tells me how she has felt growing up and we try to put this into words. The first book ‘Jess the Goth Fairy’ is about bullying the second about looking different. The message being ‘it’s ok to be different as we are all the same inside!’ The journey it has taken us has been amazing. We visit schools, colleges and disabled organisations where I read our story and Jess signs it. Then she chats to the young people about what is like to be disabled. To see her stand up in front of 200 pupils on her first visit and answer questions of any kind was so emotional and such pride! Seeing these young people who perhaps have never met someone who looks different, nervous at first, but chatting to Jess is wonderful. Jess also encourages them to go for their dream no matter how small, and more important ‘Never give up!’





We also talk to new police officers and GP’s about the stresses of independently living in the community not only from Jess’s view but mine as well as a parent/carer.

I suppose where I am coming from, is yes, there are moments of sheer desperation and these are never going to go away the 24/7 worry question no one will answer “What happens when I am not here?” But there are the magic moments such as the gold medal or watching Jess at People’s Parliament or just having that voice smiling down the phone saying “I love you mum”

To all parents who have a child that needs that extra bit of help along the way, it’s so hard and there will be days when you just sit down a cry and shout at the phone or just want to give up. Don’t, keep fighting and if we all do this we can make a better, safer life for our vulnerable young people.




Kelda Writes..What a Team! What a Performance!

Kelda writes..What a Team! What a Performance!


Yesterday saw my Paracanoe Team mates secure 3 Gold and 2 Bronze medals at the Paralympic Games in Rio. I was so, so proud to watch each and every one of them deliver the performance of their lives, and I know how much they’ve all given to the sport to make those results possible.

To be honest, I watched the racing with mixed emotions. It was a complete privilege to have been part of the journey and to have trained along side such an incredible team. But yes, of course I wish I’d been there! I have complete admiration for every one of my team mates for delivering such incredible performances out in Rio, and I know how much it meant to them all. Awesome paddling guys!!



The Games have been a huge learning experience for me, watching people achieve their dreams,  and watching some people have their dreams come crashing down. What’s stood out for me, is the fact that we really can’t define people by the medal around their necks. The difference between success and failure can often be the matter of 100th’s of a second….but the same commitment, training, sacrifice and dedication has been part of every athlete’s life, no matter what the result.

For me, it’s taught me that it really is about being the best person you can be….living by your values and treating people with respect. It’s been such an amazing achievement for all of the guys out at the Paralympics, and every medal won is so well deserved, but I’ve come away with as much respect and admiration for every single competitor, not just those that have achieved Gold.


It’s also shown me that life is very much about living for every moment and grabbing every opportunity. I’ll admit, I was gutted when I missed out on selection for Rio, and the following few months were tough as I tried to find my identity again. But it’s amazing what opportunities can come along when we least expect them…..Tomorrow I’m off to Chamonix to take part in a training weekend with the Adaptive Grand Slam Team. The team are aiming to complete the mountaineering Grand Slam, that’s the 7 highest peaks in 7 continents, plus the North Pole and South Pole. They’re aiming to do this with an adaptive team….the first time this has ever been done.


The aims and values of the team fall completely in line with my own values, and this feels like the most amazing opportunity. Although there’s no guarantee I’ll be part of the team for further expeditions, I’m excited about the challenge, I’m so looking forward to working with the incredible team….and I’m left wondering about what adventures lie around the corner.


And none of this would’ve happened if I’d been selected for Rio!!


You see, it’s all just part of the journey….you never know what’s around the corner, you never know where things will lead, but as long as you keep looking forwards and don’t spend all your time looking in the rear view mirror, then good things will come.


Everything really does happen for a reason!


We salute all who have taken part in Paralympics Rio 2016




Severndale Specialist School

Kay Kelly, Partner & Head of Clinical Negligence at Lanyon Bowdler acts regularly for children who suffer from brain injury & movement control problems. Kay was delighted to have the opportunity to look around Severndale Specialist School Shrewsbury.

Click here to read Kay’s blog

Thanking Lanyon Bowdler (SDN sponsor) for giving us permission to share this blog with you.

Jo & Jess

Jo shares her experience of being a Mother, Carer

Jo, Mother of Jess shares the up’s and down’s of being a parent bringing up a child with learning difficulties. Would she change things?  SDN, thanks Jo for sharing with us. Jo writes-

“I am a mother, so are many other women. When you become a parent the whole world turns upside down and will never be the same again. This little human being put into your arms is yours, they didn’t ask to be born you created them and from that moment on you will be there for them no matter what. The love you have for them is like no other, sometimes it hurts you love them so much.

As they grow up, you nurture them, hopefully help them to understand the world we live in is sometimes good, sometimes not so good. You watch them become a person in their own right, become confident and go out into the world to create a life they want and no matter what they achieve, however big or small, you are so proud of them.

But sometimes things don’t go to plan and that little form put into your arms is going to need a bit more help to get to that same place. Why? They are disabled and life becomes even more topsy turvy, for them and you!

There is anger, fear, exhaustion, frustration. But there is also joy, laughter, and determination. But the things that really stand out. How it changes your life, the constant fight from day to day 24/7, and then there is the guilt!

I am privileged and proud to be mum of two wonderful children. Tom now happily married and given me two beautiful grandsons, but I wouldn’t be honest if I didn’t say some of his early days were somewhat challenging. But he has brought so much joy, fun and love into my life.

I have also have a daughter, Jess!

Where do I start? My daughter now 32, has changed my life and that of my family for the better. She was born fighting, has never stopped, and that has rubbed off on me. I wouldn’t change her for the world, her love of life, her determination, her energy and her great big smile which if we could bottle and sell, we would be millionaires! But I would change the system around her as life is one big battering ram and yes, I feel like giving up and have nearly done so many times but I never will as I am determined until the day I die I will fight to make sure Jess and those like her are protected and safe when I am no longer here!

At 12 days old Jess went through major heart surgery, given a 50-50 chance of surviving that and the first year. After weeks of 2 hourly spoon feeding and another 3 years of trying to encourage her to eat she was on her way. But at the age of two we knew something wasn’t quite right and she was diagnosed with learning disabilities. Then I noticed that her tiny little feet weren’t looking quite right and she was walking on tiptoes. For the next 5 years she wore splints which helped to a certain extent, but during this time was diagnosed with a degenerative foot condition, which will mean she will become a wheelchair user as time goes on. I will always remember the day that splints came off for good “Mum they hurt so much!” never once had she complained.

Then there was the year long battle to get Jess statemented so she could move to a special school where she blossomed. Leaving there at 19 Jess went away to college for 3 years on her return home Jess announced “I don’t want to live at home can I have a flat?” We thought life had been hard with the constant assessments, reviews, negativity and lack of support, it now trebled! Having gone through the removal of cataracts on both eyes it was another year before Jess had her first flat!

But the system never left us alone. The goal posts constantly changing and phone calls to ask whether Jess’s disability has improved, oh yes! The forms you have to fill in, find a box to tick that fits Jess’s disability and told if you don’t tick a box Jess won’t get a benefit”.


Next time “Hitting 25, does it get easier or harder”

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Are you Aware of your Loved One’s Rights?

Jemma Jones, Solicitor with Lanyon Bowdler asks “Are you Aware of your Loved One’s Rights? Click on this link, to find out more as Jemma shares information & puts us straight on important issues & considerations when loved ones may need to go into a Care home..

Thank you to our sponsors Lanyon Bowdler for letting us share this blog.

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Care Act 2014 blog by Neil Davies

Last year Neil Davies, Associate Solicitor and Head of the Court of Protection Team with Lanyon Bowdler, Shrewsbury was one of our guest speakers at The Big Care Debate. Just one year on, SDN asks has it made a difference or not?

Click here to read Neil’s Blog giving us an update on the Care Act 2014 

Thank you to Lanyon Bowdler for allowing us to share this blog with our members.