Theatre worker to raise money for disabled children

By Chloe Hewitt

An artistic director from a theatre group is to take on a number of challenges next year to raise money for young people with disabilities.

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Christopher Davies has set himself three mammoth fundraising challenges

Bamboozle Theatre Company was founded in 1994 by Christopher Davies and Sue Pyecroft and since then has provided a magical, memorable, multi-sensory experience for children and young people with moderate to profound learning difficulties as well as those with emotional and behavioural difficulties.

Christopher is to take on the Three Peaks Challenge, cycle the Pyrenees, and run a marathon – none of which he has done before.

He aims to raise £70,000 for Bamboozle by doing the challenges, to support the work he is doing at the theatre company.

Katriona Brading, an administration assistant for Bamboozle, said: “We are all very proud of Chris for what he is doing. It is truly remarkable.

“The kids here are so incredible and it is clear how much the work that goes on at Bamboozle really does help them. It would be a shame for that to be lost for future generations.

“I have not worked for Bamboozle before but I was welcomed with open arms which made it feel we are all part of a family. As a drama student as well, the opportunities that working here have given me are endless.”

Mr Davies aims to complete the challenge just before his 70th birthday, which is why the target is £70,000 and it has been called the 70Seventy Challenge.

He is looking for people who are willing to sign up and join him in doing the challenge next summer.

The challenge officially gets underway from May 5-7 with the Three Peaks Challenge, followed by the cycle through the Pyrenees (Pau to Lourdes) from May 24-29, finishing up with the marathon around Leicester Racecourse on June 23.

“I really want to take part,” added Katriona. “Unfortunately I have Chronic Fatigue Syndrome which means I would not be able to keep up with everyone else, or if I did it is possible it would send me into relapse which I do not want to risk.”

Christopher is in Shanghai touring with the Bamboozle Company so was not available for comment.

More fundraising events are to be announced in the New Year.

To find out more about the challenge, to register to take part or sponsor one of the challenges visit: http://www.bamboozletheatre.co.uk/70seventy/.

Leicestershire residents ‘furious’ over planned special school cuts

By Declan Lloyd

Leicestershire residents have reacted angrily to proposed cuts to Maplewell Hall School, in Woodhouse Eaves, put forward by Leicestershire County Council.

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The plans involve closing the residential element of the school which, according to the council, would save just under £300,000 a year.

Maplewell Hall School currently has 183 pupils with special needs including autism, anxiety and other sensory needs.

The residential element of the school allows its pupils to experience living away from home and living independently, with 24 students staying a night.

County councillor Peter Osborne launched a tirade against his fellow Conservative and council leader Nick Rushton over the planned closure at a cabinet meeting.

Mr Osborne said, during the meeting: “You have a chance to stop any further erosion of the rights of the people who are there and their parents by saying you are not going to proceed any further and withdraw this.

“What I would say to you chairman, and let me put it in more personal terms, if I could have your attention, if you had a child who needed special education, and if that child benefited from the residential educational provision, and if you weren’t as wealthy, would you be satisfied going home to your wife and saying, ‘It doesn’t matter. We are going to close’.”

A petition to save the schools residential element from closing was put onto change.org and currently has over 10,000 signatures supporting it.

Anne Murray, a signatory of the petition, said: “People from around the area are absolutely furious with this decision.

“I voted for some of the councillors who make some of these awful decisions and I won’t be voting Conservative ever again.

“The cuts that they are inflicting to local communities like this are absolutely disgusting.”

Cillian Jones, another signatory of the petition, said: “What the council plans to do with this school is scandalous.

“I have a friend whose little girl goes to Maplewell, she speaks the world of that place.

“The development of the most vulnerable in our society shouldn’t be given up to save such a small amount of money.

“Either way, when things go wrong, we will probably end up paying more in the long run.”