Does He Take Sugar?

8492609238aef22ef31588754c1554fa euresponsive 1For the very first time I took a real interest in the Paralympic Games despite the fact that I have been involved with sport for the disabled for many years, albeit at the margins. I was staggered by the level of strength, skill and endurance that was put on display by the world's athletes who manged to place both their performance and indeed some the specialised sports into the realms of normality. Oscar Prestorius had started the whole new level of understanding and appreciation when he stepped onto the Olympic track and demonstrated that he is indeed an able-bodied athlete. What followed during the Paralympics was a wonderful exhibition of just how able are those that we previously considered dis-abled. However, these were the world's foremost exponents of sport in their field so how does that relate to how we view those ordinary mortals that we serve in the shop, meet at a social gathering or sit next to on the train or bus?

For it seems that the Games have gone a long way to desensitising all of us to the concept of disability. We could not avoid the missing limbs because there they were paraded , with pride, in front of us. We could not overlook the involuntary movement because there it was reminding us all that it is yet another of life's challenges to be successfully overcome and we could not overlook the hesitant conversation because there it was creating the intelligent and insightful view that deserved our patience. How many people, I wonder, felt increasingly comfortable in what they saw and heard during the course of those Paralympics? I suspect a very great many.

That for me was one of the huge dividends. An increasing willingness on the part of everybody to appreciate the latent potential in every human being whatever their circumstances provided they are given the opportunity to show it. This is not just a lesson for those involved in sport, but of course a lesson for us all. If this leads to more people asking the wheelchair occupant " Do you take sugar?" rather than through the carer then we will have made real progress. 


Lost Camera?

digital cameraSome years ago I had, what was for me an expensive camera, stolen. With it, of course, I lost the holiday snaps I had taken over the previous few days. It was an old 35mm Olympus. Losing the camera was bad enough but losing the snaps was highly irritating. I always wondered where it went. It was no surprise then that when I spotted an article on finding your stolen, or lost, camera it caught my interest. Having looked into it I thought silverlinkers would be interested in what I have found out. The is a web site called Stolen Camera Finder which can help, provided it is a digital camera that has gone astray. Unbeknownst to me, every digital photo taken on our cameras contains invisible data which includes the serial number of the camera taking the shot. By joining up to the site and downloading one of your previous photos taken on the same camera it can be tracked anywhere in the world if it is subsequently used. It is worth looking at the site and finding out how it works together with interesting testimonials. Just click on the following link   STOLEN CAMERA FINDER

Olympic Gold -Welsh Legend speaks to Silverlinksnetwork

photoAlmost half a century has elapsed since the Tokyo Olympic Games when I won gold in the long jump but I still feel proud to belong to an elite band of British Olympic Champions.

My victory was an unexpected one but the two favourites who held the world record at the time, the American Ralph Boston and Igor Ter Ovanesyan from Russia were both struggling to cope with the heavy rain and gusting winds which greeted us in the final, conditions I had trained in back home in Wales and I seized my opportunity to take the gold medal.

Just a few months earlier, I had graduated from Cardiff metropolitan University, previously known as Cardiff training college as a physical education teacher. My three years of training there in excellent sporting facilities and inspirational lecturing staff provided me with the ideal preparation to compete in my first Olympic games.

Over the years Cardiff Metropolitan University has evolved to become a world class centre for sport, sport science and education and continues to develop and prepare aspiring young students for National and International competition in their chosen sports and careers.

For a small Nation of just 3 million people in a world of 6 billion we really do punch above our weight in sport, not just in our National game of rugby, but in a range of sports such as cycling where Nicole Cooke and Geraint Thomas won Olympic gold in Beijing four years ago.

Sport helps define us as a nation, we identify with our sporting heroes and one of my vivid memories is emerging from Cardiff railway station on my return from the Tokyo Olympics to be greeted by four thousand people who had turned out to welcome me home.

So I am pleased to see that whilst it is the London 2012 Olympics, Wales, and other parts of the UK are engaged with the games. The Olympic torch, one of the iconic symbols, will travel around the villages, towns and cities of Wales and I am thrilled to be involved as one of the bearers.

Wales will also play a unique role by staging the very first event of the Games. On July 27th at the millennium stadium in Cardiff, our team GB womens football team, play New Zealand, so the start of the Olympic programme is on our very doorstep.

We will also host more than 900 athletes and support staff from Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Botswana and Trinidad in various locations around Wales. These pre games training camps in the build up to London will provide great opportunities to develop sporting, educational and cultural exchanges with them. A very positive games legacy for Wales together with the resulting economic benefits.

Perhaps our greatest engagement will be when out top Welsh athletes are selected to represent team GB and we will follow them as they strive against the best from the other 205 Nations. They will inspire and motivate the next generation of young Welsh sports men and women to emulate their feats. This for me is the true value of the Olympic games.

My role in the games is two fold, as President of U.K Athletics for the past 6 years I have helped oversee the planning and preparation for our athletes, and also as an ambassador for the British Olympic Association, sharing my experience with athletes, coaches, sponsors and stakeholders

London 2012 will be the only home Olympics most of us will experience in our lifetime. It will be a very special occasion to which Wales is making a very significant contribution.

                                                                                                                                                Lynn Davies C.B.E

                                                                                                                                                President UK thletics.


Grandparents' Access

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There are over one million children across the UK who are denied contact with their grandparents, due to family breakdown. This can be as a result of separation/divorce, alcohol/drug issues, domestic violence issues, bereavement or family feud.

As with so many experiences in life, you have no idea that this can happen to you, until it does.

I was denied contact with my granddaughter in 2007, we had been a big part of her life for seven years, and when my son and his wife divorced , contact was stopped.

A grandparent has no automatic legal right to see their grandchildren.

It is possible to go down the legal route, you have to apply for leave, to apply for a contact order, and then apply for an order. I have to say that I never advise grandparents to go down the legal route, firstly because it is a very emotional, stressful ordeal, and very costly. I have grandparents in my group who have spent their entire life savings on going to court, and still no contact.

One issue is that even if a contact order is agreed, should the resident parent decide not to turn up at the agreed time and place, you are back to square one and back to court.

For me I felt I just had to do something, and so I set up Bristol Grandparents Support Group, it took around 18 months to get going, I knew that there must be lots of grandparents feeling just like me locally, so I wrote letters to local newspapers, magazines, etc, I soon discovered that grandparents are so afraid of making the situation worse ,they are reticent in putting their head above the parapet. I gave it one last chance and wrote a letter with the headline, ‘Tea and Cake for the Grandchildren,” inviting grandparents who were denied contact to come and share a piece of cake and a cuppa, and it worked, the first meeting nine grandparents turned up.

Maybe the moral here, could be always involve cake?

So the seed was planted, and it has grown and grown, I give support over the phone, email via my website and at regular meetings.

I have to date been contacted by grandparents all over the UK, America, Israel, and beyond.

I now have grandparents who want to set up groups in their own areas, in Norfolk/Suffolk , London ,Yorkshire , Sussex, and continuing to grow. I am linking up with a lay Pastor in Virginia, America who is setting up a group.

I am very happy to support anyone who is interested in setting up a group.

There is no membership fee in becoming part of the group and I am independent from any other organization.

Not only do I have a website, where you can find lots of information but I write a blog which is where I am able to keep grandparents up to date with what is going on.

If you are a grandparent denied contact with your grandchildren then please get in touch, you are not alone.

Jane Jackson.

Bristol Grandparents Support Group-


December 2011

Almost exactly 5 years ago our first grandchild was born. He has given so much pleasure, joy and hours of free entertainment. He now has a brother so we have double the fun! The thought of not being able to see them is too awful to contemplate.

I was therefore disappointed to read yesterday that David Norgrove, in his Family Justice Review, has recommended that fathers and grandparents should not be given any legal rights to see the children following a marriage break-up. We have witnessed the heartache caused to friends of ours when access was denied

Grandchildren often form very close bonds with their grandparents who invest huge amounts of time, emotion and often money in the relationship. This can be a source of great stability and continuity to children caught in the crossfire and turmoil of marriage break-up.

It is understandable that nobody would welcome lengthy and expensive custody disputes. We must put our trust in Ian Duncan Smith, the Works and Pensions Secretary who says he will ensure that the Government  does more to further the rights of fathers and grandparents . We must not underestimate the special relationship that can exist between children and their grandparents.

If you feel strongly about this, express your views to the Government via silverlinksnetwork. 

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