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.

Update

Wow. What can I say other than an enormous thank you. Orders have come flooding in which is truly amazing. LB’s pictures will be popping up all over the country, and further afield. A hearts and mind cascade. And such a collective response indicates that the current status of learning disabled people who (as with some other groups) are clearly not seen as full and valid citizens in many settings and spaces,  is not acceptable.

One of the two pictures is also going to be used as the cover image on the abstract book for the Disability Studies Conference at Lancaster next September. This is particularly touching as I’ve attended this conference since it started back in the day and LB was a pup. It seems fitting that he will have a presence there (sob).

Lastly, a request from my mum;  can you make sure you include your address with your orders? And if you haven’t, can you email it to her (lbfightingfund@gmail.com). She is starting to send the cards and pictures out tomorrow.

Thank you.

The launch

After months of thought, discussion with various people and organisations, we’re launching LB’s Fighting Fund.  On a rainy Saturday afternoon, eight days before LB’s birthday. In a week that included a remarkable development in the horrible space we’ve occupied for the best part of this year. The NHS Trust have commissioned an independent investigation into LB’s death. This was a puzzling development in some ways. Kind of brilliant news, but at the same time, not really something to ‘celebrate’. How could it be really? LB died. And crushing questions remain about why he died.

Anyway, today the fund and (more) action. To raise money towards the costs of legal representation at the inquest (which will be held at some point in the next year).  Many people have said they want to help in some way and we hit on the idea of raising some of the money using LB’s remarkable artwork.

If any legal costs are recovered, or the artwork generates more money than the legal costs needed (because he was a cracking artist, after all, and any number of fridges/shelves/noticeboards across the country will be brightened with one of his postcards), any remaining money will be split between two exceptional charities;  INQUEST.org and Oxfordshire Family Support Network (OxFSN). 

To find out more details about the fund, click on the ‘about’ tab. To see our fundraising efforts, and the artwork available, click on the ‘fundraising’ tab.

I hope the information is clear. Please shout if it isn’t.