News Round Up

Just prior to the end of my time in the HNT shop at The Quedam, Yeovil, I decided to do another physical challenge…this time outside the shop supported by Abbey 104 who came along doing a show live. I was so grateful as I certainly needed music to get me through 4 hours in my sports wheelchair!

People passing were so kind…over £270 was collected and there was much interest in HNT. A huge thank you to all! People were guessing how, any miles I would do in the time…the winner from Dorchester who now has a fantastic meal for two at The Grange, Oborne. I gather she is staying with her husband for a treat too!

144.05 miles completed in 4 hours and far harder than I had expected, but well worth doing.

The presentation to the winner of the painting was also done…the winner being a young lad from Yeovil! Well done Max…I gather it is on your bedroom wall!

The end of the shop…so sad to go as I made such great friends….a massive thank you to The Quedam staff who were so lovely, helpful and great fun to work with. I do hope to be asked back later in the year to have a hub/drop in centre for people to access, and to put on workshops for anyone with an SEN connection. Already I have a number of workshops in mind, drawing in my years of training as a therapist and tutor but now voluntarily using skills for the benefit of HNT.
I also hope to bring along students for work experience so do get in touch if you know of anyone who may be interested…mainstream or SEN.

The very latest event…Pete and I had a stand at The Dorset Knob Festival…typically another great day as always there. Lovely to meet stallholders that I know now for other events. A massive Tombola was set up with a prize every time so that lots of children in particular went away with some lovely prizes.
Again, great connections made and I have another invite to attend an event in Weymouth in July with a stand etc to raise funds for HNT

So…a few days to catch up with website pages…particularly the front page!

Lots of photos coming from The Quedam shop, the wheelchair challenge and more so keep a look out.


Concert finished, funds in the bank, time for a rest….or not!

After the concert I was invited to have a shop unit in The Quedam, Yeovil for 6 weeks…a fantastic way to spread the word about HNT and to raise awareness of what I do, who I support, and how the community can get on board to help.

So, a quick downsizing of my barn, collecting donated goods and setting up a shop…which suddenly became far more than a shop! Although goods were sold, the days became more of a drop-in centre where people came to chat, to seek advice, and to de stress. I met some remarkable people with remarkable stories about their lives, their past, their experiences and their difficulties. They were from all walks of life, a variety of ages, and most with some SEN connection, whether it was personally, through friends and colleagues or through family.

I also invited other charities to use the unit alongside to advertise their work..

In the first week, something amazing happened! A minister in Yeovil came to see what the shop was and said he would donate a couple of things. The same day, only an hour after he had left, he reappeared with a couple of bits and the most beautiful painting…an acrylic. I was totally taken with this masterpiece, and he told me that he was 82 and had started painting…all self-taught…17 years ago. He was fed up being on his own and just watching the TV and had prayed to God to give him a talent.

God certainly has done this! Stan, the artist, returned home and then reappeared again with 2 more paintings…again beautiful! He was donating 3 paintings to sell, and then offered to paint outside the shop on Bank Holiday Monday…bringing much interest. The painting was raffled, again the funds coming to HNT.

What was amazing is that Stan has never been told how good his art is! He had not thought about selling the paintings…and yes, Pete and I discovered when we visitors his home, he must have at least 60+ on walls, stacked up in doorways, and in his artist’s studio. Many were framed beautifully; a painting was half finished on the easel and he was telling us about his next venture.

The time he takes to do these paintings is even more amazing…3 hours maximum in total! He uses photographs, black and white drawings…or images from his head, paints landscapes, flowers, cathedrals and churches (see examples below)…but not people or animals.

One of his paintings has been now sold, and I am absolutely thrilled that Stan has asked if I can help him promote his works, put on an exhibition, and help home sell some pieces. He is wanting to give 25% of anything sold to HNT but I have explained that he should keep the money and perhaps donate a couple throughout the year for me to auction. It has been an absolute pleasure to help him and I feel very blessed to have met such a kind person with a heart of gold.

Stan takes commissions and so, as now the HNT artist as Larry Lagrue is the HNT poet, do get in touch if you are interested. A perfect way to give a present. Stan lives in Yeovil and would be more than happy to show a variety of paintings and to discuss your needs.

My contact details are on the HNT website.


May Blog 2 F

HNT Charity Concert

What a busy start to 2019!

On March 18th, the amazing Just Take That came to perform at The Octagon Theatre, Yeovil for HNT. It was a truly wonderful community event with students from SEN and mainstream schools, staff, parents , carers , and young adults with learning disabilities dancing and singing away alongside Rotarian’s, councillors,
locals and Take That fans that had come from afar!

The band were superb, not only singing a range of Take That hits spanning 30 years, but also breaking into The Beatles and Bee Bees songs! Two hours of music for all ages, plus a couple of surprises on stage, including the amazing HNT poet, Larry Lagrue reciting his latest poem about life as an SEN child.

IMG May Blog 1 B2

Thanks to kind donations from local companies, some of the concert costs were covered and £9000 was banked. This included the money from a 2 minute bucket run when the band ran into the crowd amounting to nearly £600!

I also had written to numerous small local firms to ask if they would donate the cost of a seat or seats so that families and SEN schools who otherwise would not have had the funds to come could join in the fun. Thanks to people’s kindness this indeed happened and for some it was a once in a lifetime experience….until 2020!

So…keep the date…

JANUARY 11TH…Saturday

The Octagon Theatre Yeovil  –

Just Take That –

HNT charity concert

Tickets from the theatre box office…. £21 which includes a £1 ticket levy.

As for this year I am seeking sponsors for the following…please spread the word and get in touch if you can help as, if all the costs are covered and I can get seats sponsored again, the event should bring in over £12,000 and yet again be a truely community inclusive event.

Theatre Hire £1194

Technical Staff £138

Performance rights £254

Brochure advertisement £342

Band £1008

Insurance £375

Banner and posters £200

Seats all at £21 to include ticket levy.

The aim is to fill 80% of the auditorium, have a few surprises in the stage and to raise funds for HNT…which means funds for local SEN specialist pre-school/school groups, and families with SEN or Learning Difficulties connections.

My 2 students from Yeovil College are putting the final touches to this year’s video of the concert which will then be on the website. It includes Larry’s remarkable poem so do watch and listen as it is so touching.

In the meantime, a huge thank you to the theatre (what lovely and helpful staff!), the band who were such fun, Terry Bennett from Abbey 104 who came on stage to do the thank yous and interview at the end, to Larry Lagrue for spending his free time writing the second HNT poem (he does commissions so do get onto his website…. ), to all the sponsors, and of course to all those who came along to dance the night away!