Running out of words…

Sorry, such sporadic updates here. Too much going on to catch up myself! Over at #107days, the brilliance continues. A riot of awareness raising, joyfulness and fundraising. I just wanted to post an update of the funds raised so far. An unbelievable;

 £17,805.53.

Enormous thanks, as ever, to everyone who has contributed in whatever way. We’re making waves. And who knows, this may lead to effective change.

Finally, advance notice that the LB stationery range has been extended to include these beautiful blank notebooks, courtesy of our lovely neighbour. Details to follow about how to purchase these individually or in sets of three.

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Helterskelter news and thanks

Here’s another speedy fundraising update.. There’s so much going on that it’s almost impossible to keep up with it all. In the last couple of weeks, Jo Kidd made 25 LB bus pencil cases/pouches. These are truly fab and we invited pre-orders with donations of £3.50 plus to cover the cost of making them and postage.

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Not surprisingly, they flew off the shelves and all 25 have been sold. There is a rumour that Jo may have a bit more material to make a few more but we’ll let her take a breather for now.  She deserves it.

Another person on the deserve list (which is pretty long) is Madi Barnicoat who has spent the whole of the Easter weekend kayaking 125 miles and carrying the boat around 77 locks with her coach. Aged 15. Fund and awareness raising for LB. Simply remarkable.

The total amount raised so far is £10,091.87. An enormous thanks to everyone who has made a contribution or joined in #107days in different ways. It’s still possible to get involved in various ways whether it’s drawing a bus picture, sending a postcard describing an awesome dude you know (or are) or signing the letter for Connor. There are probably one or two more days left to adopt, so there’s still time to get on board (as Becky and her family just have, over on our #justiceforLB facebook page!)

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We’re also planning a party night to end all party nights in a legendary venue in Oxford (the Oxford Sports and Social Club). This is a real step back in time as the club was set up in 1927 for the workforce of Morris Motors and retains a lot of the original features. Sadly it is closing in 2016 but we intend to have a party night for all ages on Saturday 31st May with live music, food and a disco. Tickets are £10.00 an adult and £7.00 for children (free for tots, babes or tiddlers). They can be ordered via Becca at itisrcdc@aol.com or justiceforLB@gmail.com.

Finally, on the organisation front, I have to say thanks to (mum) Val for superb sales/postage management, Charlotte for keeping a spreadsheet up to date with all the posts/coverage of #justiceforLB/#107days. There are so many exceptional contributions that we’re just collecting the links at the moment with a view to doing something about them all at some point soon. And again, thanks to George Julian who is managing to run #107days seamlessly from the States, while doing all sorts of other stuff.

Phew. I think that’s it for now. Just a big thank you really.

Fundtastic

Bit of a speedy fundraising update here as it’s all going on over at #107days. A brilliant and diverse set of awareness and fundraising actions. I’ve sorted the picture on this blog which was probably wrong from the get-go, thank you for your patience.

We have so much action planned over the next 95 days it’s remarkable. I won’t give too much away as we have a programme to rock your socks off and don’t want to spoil the element of surprise (being accidental  professional campaigners n’ all…) Some days will (hopefully) make people think and reflect, some will make people laugh and some will make people cry (just received photos of one day of action that has floored me, in a blubfest of the best sort).

It’s really shaping into a fantastic demonstration of all things dudesome. And a collective sense of outrage and understanding that the way in which particular people are treated is wrong. And unacceptable.

A social worker who made a donation yesterday captured this simply and brilliantly;  “You inspire me to ask more questions, do more checks, be an irritation and an annoyance. Most of all, I will admit when I have made mistakes and say sorry quickly and mean it.”

It really ain’t rocket science.

So the total raised so far (with a reminder that if we recover any of the legal costs or, if it looks possible in a completely jaw dropping way, we raise more than the legal costs, the money will be split between Oxfordshire Family Support Network and INQUEST) is £9390.12

Keeping pace (literally on days 18, 24 and 95) perfectly with the legal costs so far.

I can’t finish without a mention for My Life My Choice, our local self advocacy group. These guys have supported us from the start and have stood up against potential backlash from funding streams to say that what happened to LB is unacceptable and change is needed. They’ve written  to everyone who should be written to, dedicated a (happiness) Sting Radio show to LB, have a #107day on June 24th and donated 50 Baxter Bears to the cause. Cracking support from the dudes who know.

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Plans for the Baxter Bear 50 are still in discussion but keep an eye out for developments…

And finally a message from my mum who is coordinating card and print sales exceptionally… can Fiona E, Darrell (and J) C and David G email their addresses. She hasn’t been able to send your orders.

Ooh, and a limited off of 50 postcards for £42/107 for £82 inc. P&P….

Wow!

(At last) interest in how a fit and healthy young dude could drown in an NHS hospital is growing. Not headline news (learning disabled people don’t really qualify as full citizens in this country) but signs that people are sitting up and taking notice.

On the fundraising front orders keep coming for LB’s beautiful cards and prints. You can track where these cards are going on LB’s bus map. A larger canvas print will grace The Tizard Centre (which seems completely appropriate given the brilliant work this group do around learning disability). We also found out this week that Rodger’s Coaches are naming one of their coaches ‘ConnorCo’. How cool is that? He would have LOVED it.

And, in terms of funds raised so far, the total is an astonishing £8272.83.

Thank you.

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Three people haven’t sent their addresses for their cards, so if you haven’t received your order, please email lbfightingfund@gmail.com so we can put this right. 

World domination, bugs and a nice mess

LB’s cards continue to travel across the globe.  You can see the map of their progress here and see pics of them in their various destinations at #LBbus on twitter. Amazing. Here’s a beautiful pic of a card in Vancouver, courtesy of Anne Townsend (@aftjae).

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Anne and I met in Vancouver in 2004 at a symbolic interactionism conference when we were both eager, enthusiastic and (for me, can’t speak for Anne), slightly blown away with the whole gig, PhD students. She performed the most remarkable about turn, Laurel and Hardy style, on the hotel escalator one night. It still makes me chuckle. We then, some years later, managed to alienate the symbolic interactionist discussion list through repeatedly copying the entire list into our inane email chat about something inconsequential. So awkward. So funny. And so cool LB’s bus has arrived in a place of such good memories.

I dug out this pic of LB around that time; bug hunting with his brothers…

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Parking the sunshine memories for now, the final version of the report is due to be published, in full, on Southern Health’s website very soon. This is a substantial development emerging through the combined efforts of a cracking legal team (Charlotte HaworthHird of Bindmans and others), INQUEST, Oxfordshire Family Support Network, the disability studies community, and the army of family, friends, colleagues and supporters on facebook and twitter.

A collective determination that LB’s death won’t be brushed under the carpet and end up as another statistic in the premature death of learning disabled people pile. It will mark some change in the way in which dudes are treated.

A right old determination.

LB’s bus and a touch of Cliff

This blog is a bit of a sunshine space for me at the mo, unlike mydaftlife which I could rename  isn’tlifeshite? at the moment. This is a space where people’s enthusiasm, delight and interest in LB shines through, as well as collective outrage about what’s happened. Who’d have thought a dude that so few of you actually met could have made such an impact?

Dudelicious. Dudetastic. And how it should be.

This week I can report on a map tracking the distribution of LB’s pictures across the world  set up by George Julian. What an incredible idea. Inspired by a tweet by Tanya Moore.  And how amazing to see how far LB’s pictures are spreading. The green stars are the depots. These are based on the first three characters of the post codes that the cards have been sent to. The red stars are the destinations that people have sent cards to, or  where they have received them. If you want to add a destination, you can email George at twitterpostcards@gmail.com or tweet the destination including the hashtag #LBBus. There is a slight backlog on the map as I just emailed around 50 more depots to George tonight.

In the spirit of the adoration of all things buses. Here’s a bit of Cliff*…

* …run with Cliff, eh? I wanted to do the opening credits for The Double Deckers but there’s some sort of embargo on this on youtube.

Update: Nope, not a good enough caveat for Rich, so for those of you who ain’t Cliff fans, here’s an alternative…

Starting a new year…

Been a bit hands off the fund for the last few weeks. Sorry… Luckily the likes of George Julian (@GeorgeJulian) and Nick Hodge (@Goodchap62) are doing a stonking job of keeping momentum going. And I have to say an enormous thanks to my mum, Val, who has sent out countless postcards/prints, battling the Christmas queues in the post office, to keep things pretty much up to date. She is only waiting for one address now, so if you ordered cards a couple of months ago and haven’t got them yet, could you email fightingfund@gmail.com to let her know? Thank you.

Anyway, the total raised so far is an unbelievable £5608.20This is a remarkable amount and all the more remarkable as it’s based on LB’s artwork. The thought of his pictures bouncing around the country is beyond heartwarming. Enormous thanks to everyone for their support.

In fund-related news, Oxfordshire Family Support Network (one of the two charities any remaining monies will be donated to) have been doing some scoping work to explore the potential of creating a local and national peer support network for families who have relatives admitted to assessment and treatment units. It sounds like this early work is going very well and there is a lot of positive interest from both families and various organisations. This, again, feels absolutely right as families are more likely to be able to provide detailed knowledge about the needs, interests and aspirations of the person in question, and are therefore central players in the achievement of a good life with and for them.

So, onwards and upwards. A new year and all that may bring. I posted this short film of LB’s recent school times on mydaftlife the other day but I bloody love it so here it is again…

A bit more news

Apologies for the delay in updating the fundraising total so far. Slight issue around a forgotten security code – brain like a sieve and all that. (Well, brain pulverised by relentless happenings but let’s keep this blog one of cheer and positivity…) We have a total now.

And not having a total for several weeks did not detract from the remarkable dedication of various fundraising fairies. Special mention here:

Sonya Barnett who encouraged, collected and managed a range of orders from the staff at the school she teaches. My work colleagues, led by Trisha Carver, who have given up their lunchtimes to create spectacular  Christmas table decorations. Effort that makes me cry (good) tears.

We received the cheque for LB’s book cover (Approaching Disability: Current Issues and Critical Perspectives by Rebecca Mallett and Katherine Runswick-Cole, coming out next year). What a remarkable achievement. And what a brilliant contribution to the fund. The dude rocked, and continues to do so.

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And more remote efforts via social media. The demonstration of the reach, flexibility and power of which (heartwarming to a complete geek) has been a positive dimension to this whole experience. George Julian invited people to request a personalised postcard from her to free up space to buy some of LB’s cards.  Bringing back memories of those old Royal Mail ads around the importance of receiving a personal letter/card in the post.

The email orders for cards are including stories. Stories that resonate, stories of outrage, recognition, familiarity and similarity. All sorts of stories. And people have been tweeting pictures of their cards or pictures, pinned to noticeboards, framed,  just received. Including this nudge from Chris Hatton;
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These efforts are so important to us, not least because they signal a collective demonstration that what happened to LB is completely unacceptable. That change is needed. That things cannot be.

So, an enormous thank you.

And the total at 26 November is: £4096.34.

Four thousand and ninety six pounds and thirty four pence. Bloody amazing.

Fundraising, Chunky Stan and ‘old people’

Well fundraising has taken on a life of its own in many ways. LB’s cards, postcards and prints are filling postbags around the country (and further). People are tweeting photos of their cards/prints, blogging this fundraising link and chipping in with offers of help/fundraising suggestions. The warmth, collective rage and upset about what’s happened and the stories attached to some of the emails, are both heartwarming and heartbreaking.

On Saturday we had a stall at LB’s school Christmas craft fair. Selling, in addition to LB’s artwork, some donated beautiful Jangneus ‘seconds’ and pictures by LB’s grandad.

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It was lovely to see pupils and staff.  (Sob). And to hear more stories about the dude who never stops delivering. Clea came along with her mum. LB was in the first class Clea taught at school (she maintains this class is the reason she’s stayed at the school all these years).

Clea’s mum recalled turning up to help in the classroom one day. LB turned to her and announced; “My dog told me I’d be hanging out with old people at school today”.

Hilarious. That he said it. That she remembers it. And that we’re laughing about it. So many years later.

More news

After getting through LB’s birthday weekend, it was cheering to get the news this afternoon that his ‘Colour’ painting is going to appear on the front cover of a Disability Studies textbook (confirmed in a heartwarming email from the publisher that generated more tears). Wow.

Approaching Disability, written by Rebecca Mallet/Katherine Runswick-Cole, will be published  by Routledge next year.

What a dude.

And another demonstration of thought, engagement, outrage.

I was involved in a twitter discussion earlier today about how people respond to public expressions of grief/writings about death. This inevitably touched on what happened to LB, as I haven’t held back with expressing exactly how I feel. In real time. [A few choice phrases spring to mind.. cough cough.] The discussion ended with agreement that people (some/many?) want to express solidarity. People are helping, contributing and supporting in so many different ways.

Expressions of solidarity.

The response to the fund/LB’s artwork has been phenomenal. My mum, Val, has been packaging cards, postcards and prints, beetling to and from the post office, maintaining a spreadsheet and monitoring ‘stock levels’. (There has been a slight delay with the ‘Colour’ prints but these will be sent out this week.) Little sis Sam has been giving us marketing advice, with other offers of help carefully logged.

Our total so far – estimated as we don’t have the current balance – is around £3,000.

Thank you.