Royal Invitation

What an amazing 3 days Pete and I have had in London this week!

A few weeks ago I received an invitation to attend The Queens Garden Party as Founder of HNT…what an honour to represent HNT and the Special Needs Children that HNT supports. So, last Monday Pete and I got on the train up to London for a wonderful 3 days!

Staying very close to Horse Guards Parade meant that we could spend many hours wondering through the beautiful St James Park. Needless to say we have returned with albums-worth of photographs, particularly of the birds which were proudly showing off their young!

We watched the pomp and ceremony that goes with Changing of The Guards and other Guard-related duties, explored Fortnum and Masons when the weather was a little less kind [we decided against the small box of chocolates that cost £165!] , and went house hunting! MMMM…£25,000 PER WEEK to rent a flat in Chelsea and that was before paying an extra amount per person living there, the tenancy agreement, and before even thinking about general living costs! Needless to say we decided against that too!!

On the whole the weather was lovely…and we were incredibly lucky on the day of the Garden Party. The sun shone, the breeze was warm, and everyone was smiling. The Police and Guards were friendly and making jokes so that everyone felt relaxed and at ease, the Diplomats from around the world were in their countries state dress, the staff at the Palace were so lovely chatting away to us and obviously enjoying the day, and the grounds were stunning…a real mix of formal and more wild beds, trees, the lake and more. Almost an extension of St James Park…and yet different. And of course being able to be inside the palace was a real treat.

The Royal Family looked as if they too were really enjoying the afternoon…Prince Philip making jokes about his retirement and absolutely not looking his 96 years! It really was such an honour to be there amongst people who have made a huge positive impact on others. As well as Diplomats there were many from the Services and members from the Police Force who had all gone over and beyond their normal call of duty.

A huge thank you to whoever nominated me to go….it is wonderful to think that they feel HNT is a worthwhile charity to follow, and that more has to be done to understand the needs of the SEN children, their families and the schools they attend.

And of course an even bigger thank you to Pete who does hours of work behind the scenes working on the computer and has been such an amazing support to me for the last 2 years!

A letter of thanks is on its way to Her Majesty too!


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Family Life!

Well, what a week it has been. Only 8 days ago son Peter, aged 10, was suddenly admitted into hospital with an acute asthma attack which happened totally out of the blue. Frightening for him and scary for myself as a parent wondering what had caused this episode and seeing him so very unwell.

17 year old son George held the fort at home, juggling final AS revision hours and MIT practice entrance exams with cooking meals for the younger ones, and ensuring that they weren’t too worried about what was going on with Peter. My children are all amazing and I am so lucky to have such a close knit family who always pull together in any crisis.

Yeovil Paediatric Ward came up trumps as usual…the care was superb; staff always friendly and putting Peter at ease; the facilities in the play areas fantastic thanks to Time Is Precious [another charity that are well worth supporting!!!]; the food fantastic; the consultant who ensured Peter was discharged in time to attend his Karate Prize Giving later on the Saturday afternoon was so kind. Thank you all!

AND, also a massive thank you to our wonderful GP, Practice Nurses and Reception Staff who acted so fast when I appeared with Peter in his dressing gown early on the Friday morning. They literally dropped everything to help him…despite the busy surgery and waiting room. Apologies if you were one of the patients having to wait!

I managed to chat to some parents whilst I was in the hospital and I was stunned by what some of their children have had to endure in their short lives. One little girl particularly hit a mark as she has struggled through 3 years of almost continuous chest infections, collapsed lungs and pneumonia. Her darkened eyes were so sad; not what a 3 year old should experience. She cannot go outside if there is anything but sunshine and warmth so cannot play with others or have that freedom that most of us can remember from childhood.

This little girl and her family need the support of HNT as much as a child on the autistic spectrum, or a family with a child with physical complex needs. Her education is likely to be affected due to inability to sustain more than a couple of school days weekly, and so additional support in school or through home learning may need to be accessed…if funding permits!

The knock-on affect on the family also may have its toll…how unfair it is that siblings cannot also enjoy the fun freedom of childhood due to their sister’s illness. I should imagine that there is no possibility of both parents being able to work as one would need to be on constant call for their little girl and so finances may be an issue. The lack of sleep when hospital admissions happened, the constant worry and need for a more solid diagnosis and therefore care plan and treatment, the separation of parents during these times as one looks after things at home whilst the other is in the hospital MUST have a long term affect.

It has got me thinking more about how HNT can expand in helping children and their families who have additional needs as well as ensuring the support remains for the Preschool Special Needs Groups. SO…watch out for ideas towards the end of the year and into 2018!!!!

Peter and William both received awards needless to say for their Karate which brought back a smile to their faces…well done boys! I am so proud of you!

The next blog will be written over the weekend and will have photos from Buckingham Palace…a huge honour to represent HNT and the SEN children!



Education for SEN Children

Well, after a few years of battle in terms of getting through to the education system what my little SEN daughter needs, and then taking actions into my own hands, she is now still in mainstream school but is also doing a few hours twice weekly in a special school.

This means she is coping with academic subjects but to her optimum limits…and not struggling to understand “stuff” that she may be able to “parrot learn” but never apply.

She is filling the other hours with children with SEN; having fun, leaning in an environment that promotes her wellbeing whilst at the same time ensures she expandssen-image on skills that she will use in later life. She is also going to be able to grow in terms of her strengths…music, wildlife interests, cooking, swimming, art, dancing and more.

In a week my little girl is smiling again…she gets up in the mornings not in tears but raring to go. She comes out of school not having meltdowns and then falling asleep in the sitting room, but excited and babbling away about what she has done/made etc at the special school.

She laughs and is enthusiastic about life, AND she is able to show her peers in mainstream school how she has progressed in areas that they have had not had the chance to expand in.

My little girl who was depressed and sad is blooming…in a week! her self-esteem is going to rise…and she has even learned the art of telling jokes!

WHY has it taken me this long to get through to the education system that total inclusion for her just would not work…a mix of schools is going to ensure she reaches her optimum potential.

AND, huge thanks to Holly who is attending the SEN sessions with Y…Holly has welcomed input from me, and has already been thinking on my wavelengths and will try to get other children at Y’s school to also split their education between mainstream and SEN schools.

HNT is about raising awareness of SEN children’s needs…as well as raising funds. I cannot wait to chat more to local politicians about educational issues as I am sure MANY children would benefit from this “dual tracking-type” system.



HNT at Dorset Knob Festival

Well…Dorset Knob Festival in the RAIN on Sunday (30th April)…but what a fantastic time we had! I have never been to such a fun-filled festival where “FUN” was literally the order of the day as people used a variety of techniques to throw, splat, putt, eat and pin on the Cerne Giant the famous Dorset KNOB!

HNT had a stand and we were incredibly busy answering questions about the Trust, talking to parents, teachers, and children about what SEN children and their families face daily, and what changes really need to happen in terms of education for SEN children and the funding that they receive.

The tombola proved a huge hit and nearly £350 was made despite the pouring rain and windy weather.

My 10 year old and his best friend were stars…engaging with the visitors, getting stall holders to donate into the HNT buckets, and generally spreading the word to all! They even had the rugby players engaged, and joined in the infamous “slide” at the end of the day much to the amusement of all. Well done boys…proud of you both!

The food stands were amazing…what had Dorset NOT got to offer? And of course the music played continuously so there was much foot tapping and jigging throughout the day!

Thank you all who were so engaging with HNT and to Wessex FM AGAIN who have supported for the last 2 years! I am hopi9ng to do some more radio interviews soon to drum up vital funds for the SEN kids this year!

SO…only 6 weeks until my run; the training now gains pace and that means even MORE dedication and hard work! BUT…the SEN children can face this type of challenge on a daily basis and my run is merely a way to get people to look at what these challenges are and to help.

I now need SPONSORS…hoping to raise £10,000 prior to my run so any businesses PLEASE come on board! £100 per mile minimum but you can sponsor as many miles of my 65 as you would like. A MAJOR sponsor donating the full £10,000 would be amazing…I can only BUT ask!

Huge thanks and PLEASE pass this on to everyone!

Rachel Goodfellow