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Providing Opportunities
for People with
Learning Disabilities

The sun shone on the thousands of people undertaking the Brighton Marathon, on Sunday, 12th April. This year the event included Sandra Fowlie and Wendy Quinn who completed it in 5hrs 25minutes to fundraise for the JPK Project.  Jill and Patrick Parker, Trustees of the JPK Project, were at the finishing line to congratulate them.

Sandra Fowlie, a parent, whose son is on the waiting list for the JPK Project is no stranger to marathons, with the London Marathon and Eastbourne Half Marathon under her belt. She says “I was pleased to be able to undertake another challenge for the JPK to raise much needed funds to enable them to commence building this much needed resource, not only for my son, but for all the others who have their names down. Matthew wants to live independently with his friends and to have access to the community and stimulating training and work experience.”

Wendy Quinn, who has previously run several half marathons added “The JPK is a wonderful endeavour. I wholeheartedly support its aims and objectives and wanted to support its major fundraising initiative – I will look forward to other opportunities to raise funds in the future”.

Jill Parker, Chairman and Project Co-ordinator said “We are extremely grateful to Sandra and Wendy for their wonderful support and ‘going the extra mile/s’ but I would also like to thank their family, friends and colleagues who sponsored them in these events to enable them to hand over this wonderful donation. You have all made a difference.”

The JPK Project

Our April newsletter is out now and you can read our update here – JPK Project Newsletter April 2017.

If you’re not already on our database and would like to receive news as we issue it please click here to visit our homepage and scroll down to the ‘Subscribe to our newsletter’ form to enter your details.

Thank you for your interest in the JPK Project.

East-Dean-Church

Six Lenten Lunches have been held over the last six weeks hosted by residents from the Parish of East Dean and Friston Churches. Jill Parker, chair and founder of the JPK Project had the privilege of attending them with her mother Sylvia Westley and was delighted to learn that the lunches raised over £1000 for the project. Speaking at a lunch, Jill took the opportunity to recall the following event that occurred some years ago at East Dean Church.

The Learning Disabled Can Lead the Way

My daughter, Katie, was christened when she was a baby and I wanted her to be confirmed, but because of her learning disability I realised that this might be a problem. Would she be able to attend the necessary classes and perform on the day?

Ian Smale, Rector at the time, received permission from the Bishop of Lewes for Katie to be confirmed and so commenced ‘her training’ to walk forward, kneel and be confirmed. We were allowed the keys to St Andrew’s Church, Jevington, where we practiced for several weeks, walking forward, kneeling at the Chancel steps, bowing and then walking back to her place. We also practiced on the bottom of the stairs at home! She eventually got the hang of it and so we moved forward to the night in confidence.

On the evening all went well and she and my mother moved to the appropriate position with all the other participants. Katie was the second to go forward, which she did correctly unaided, but the kneeling ‘went out of the window’ and she just stood and bowed her head in front of Bishop Wallace Benn. Bishop Benn rose to the occasion and stood and confirmed her. We, her family were somewhat embarrassed and displeased with her at the time, little knowing what was to follow.

There were a couple of elderly ladies waiting to be confirmed and they were somewhat nervous and concerned that if they were to kneel would they be able to get up again! With Katie having lead the way, they followed suit and just stood and bowed their heads; they were extremely grateful to Katie. Following the service Katie was not presented with the normal Prayer Book, being unable to read, but with a cross saying ‘God is Love’ 1 John 4:16 which she has on her bedside table to this day.

We shall be ever grateful to East Dean Church for their consideration and the way in which they embraced Katie into their fold, and appreciating that everyone can be accommodated whatever their needs and abilities.

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