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SOFT UK Family Day 2013

The 2013 SOFT Family Day took place at the Village Hotel, Solihull on a warm Saturday 29th June. It was lovely to see friends old and new.

table with Laura

Our thanks go to Nora Shannon and Joan Morris, two of SOFT’s professional advisers, who both gave really informative talks and spent time talking with individual families. Joan’s talk in particular raised a lot of discussion about future potential research which would be really interesting and valuable to the families of children affected by Trisomy.

It was a really family orientated day, with plenty of time for informal discussions and sharing individual stories. John Capper kicked things off, introducing the day and Chris Rose kept everything running, introducing speakers and the family discussions. Barbara Rosenthal, from CRUSE, a valued friend of SOFT, attended and supported the family discussions. In the afternoon we had the SOFT Annual General Meeting. Not a formal meeting but an opportunity to share with SOFT members the work the charity had done in the past year, its financial position and future plans. It is important that SOFT members are able to see how their charity is working and are able to influence its future. There was some good discussion on future plans, particularly how SOFT can work with healthcare professionals to ensure future families get the information and support they need. Trustees Chris, Jan and Laura spoke to the slides.

walking to balloon release

Special mention and thanks must go to Fliss Reading who arranged both a beautiful remembrance room, with soft lighting, remembrance stars, beautiful poems and tribute book. Fliss also organised the balloon release later in the day, with colourful balloons. All of the balloons were completely biodegradable and had small envelopes (also biodegradable) attached containing flower seeds. This meant you could write a message to your loved one on the envelope and when the balloon and envelope landed and degraded, the seeds would plant themselves in the ground. Lovely to think of small patches of poppies and other flowers springing up where the balloons land. What made Fliss’s efforts even more amazing is the fact that a few weeks before the conference she, not only gave birth to a new baby but she also moved house a week later, and still managed to do all the work for SOFT. She also taught us all a new technique, which she called shooshing!  This involved a nifty way of removing the balloon ribbon immediately before releasing the balloon in to the sky, so the ribbons, which were not biodegradable, were not left attached to possibly harm wildlife. 

All of the photographs of the day were taken by Stephen Scott, our photographer extraordinaire. Stephen was snapping photographs all day, so we have a great set of pictures from the day.

The children enjoyed a crèche run by Tinies and made some lovely photograph frames.  Finally a smaller group had dinner together and enjoyed the entertainment of Andy’s Magic Show.