Saturday, 17 September 2011

Eastlea 'People's Millions' Trike Trail.

I woke up early this morning feeling a bit low in spirit because I hadn't slept well at all...too much on my mind. But whoever said that life was easy? My son came in and gave me a big hug and this brightened me up. I felt even better after some breakfast and a hot bath and I began to focus on my appearance at Eastlea Community School in Newham.

My transport arrived on time and as we drove along the M11 heading towards London I marvelled at the sight of the distant tower blocks of the city glimmering in the morning sunshine. It was nice to leave the dark clouds hovering above Harlow and into the sun.

We arrived at Eastlea and I was amazed to see the transformation that had happened since my last visit four years ago. The school reception area was stunning, with beautiful artwork above the entrance, and a bright, spacious interior, and best of all, totally accessible to people of all abilities. This just made my face light up, and I was humbled by the wonderful welcome I received from the Principal and the staff of the school. They took us through into the school and I when I saw the brand new amphitheatre and heard the excellent steel band playing I felt like dancing, this time not in my dreams!

It was lovely to see young people with disabilities whizzing around the play area on brand new trikes and handbikes having a great time, then my eyes caught sight of a swing especially adapted to take a wheelchair. I just had to have a go, big kid that I am, and I loved it, swinging back and forth for the first time in my life. The press and public were watching me but for a few minutes I was a little girl again lost in my own enjoyment. However, the fun ended too soon and I had to become the honoured guest again to officially open the area.

I noticed a young girl in a wheelchair, Rebecca, and I envied her because this great facility would allow her to play with her friends and enjoy the fresh air. Thankfully she will not be the little girl in the corner who was not allowed to join in like I was. I think that is why I decided to ask Rebecca to join me in unveiling the plaque because to me she is the future. Every morning when I wake up I always look for circumstances that I want, and sometimes when I can't find them I try to make them, and today as I gave my speech and looked at the faces of the young people with disabilities and their parents and teachers I wanted this so much for them. I desperately wanted them to understand that circumstances don't make us, they only reveal who we are and that's why disability should never mean inability.

The event finished with some wonderful food in the students canteen that was made by the students. It was delicious. I had to drag myself away to my transport and back to the dark clouds still hovering above Harlow.

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