7/7 survivor visits inspirational retirement village event
Stoke Gifford Retirement Village in Bristol is set to foster inclusive dialogue and challenge societal perspectives surrounding individuals with disabilities through an upcoming event.
The retirement community will host guest speaker Dan Biddle, a survivor of the 7/7 London bombings with the village aiming to inspire meaningful conversations.
Dan lost both his legs, an eye, and his spleen in the London attack and has since re-built his life. He will join ExtraCare village residents to talk about resilience, change, and coming to terms with a new normal. Dan deals with PTSD daily but lives life to the full with his partner in South Wales. He has been a regular visitor to the village and enjoys the community and environment as an accessible and welcoming space.
The This is Me event has been the brainchild of Stoke Gifford Village resident and group founder Pete Chapman. Chapman, a military veteran who worked in field hospitals now uses a wheelchair himself.
Pete comments: “During preparation to go to the Falkland Islands I injured my back and was taken to an RAF hospital. Years down the line I had a number of operations where on two occasions my spinal cord was ripped causing irreversible damage, I am now wheelchair bound. Saying all this I can now put my past experiences to good use.”
Pete set up This Is Me as a forum to enable people to talk about disability, share experiences, and form a network in his local community. He is passionate about supporting others to think positively and openly about disability and hidden disability. The group ensures that people know they are not alone, and focusses on changing perceptions of disabled adults, many of whom have become disabled later in their life.
Being independent within the village has proven beneficial for Pete and his wife, knowing he is part of a supportive and friendly community and sharing his story.
Pete comments: “I thought to myself very few people at the village know what is below the surface, so I set about trying to raise awareness around hidden disabilities. I have had a number of residents from the group do their own talks which puts them out of their comfort zone but when you see their face light up at the end of the talk they feel better for getting it off their chest. If that one session benefits just one person, then it is worthwhile.”
Open to anyone, disabled or not, carers, or professionals the This is Me event will take place 5:30 – 7:00pm on July 13th at ExtraCare’s Stoke Gifford Retirement Village. For more information on tickets please visit the eventbrite page.
This is Me the group takes place monthly at the retirement village and is open to anyone internally or externally.
Image caption: From the event Pete, Lucy from Inclusive Change and Dan Biddle.
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