Blog No.4 – Why the NDCS?

Hello everyone. A much quicker blog this time around. How are we all? I hope you’re well. Running this past fortnight has been ok. Got my mojo back slightly. By slightly I mean, mentally I can plough through stuff. Done a few 9+ mile jogs which is nice and a few good old 6 milers. Woop Woop. Now to find time to get in a few 11-12 milers before the Warwick Half Marathon in early March (editors note – I wrote this a few days ago, as you read this I did a big 11 miler yesterday. Good times). Anyway – I thought I would do a nice blog about why I am running 26.2 miles for the National Deaf Children’s Society (in hopefully less than 5 hours) in April. There is a significant reason why so I thought I would blog about it.

I spent a large amount of my time in my youth with my paternal grandparents. My Nan was profoundly deaf whilst my grandad was Deaf/Blind. As if often the case during my formative years, I was left at my grandparents during school holidays, teacher training days and more. This led to them taking me quite regularly to Walsall Deaf Club. It was there I think I have some of my earliest memories. Playing and running around. Playing with my old WWF wrestling figures whilst people played Bingo, snooker & domino’s. Due to this – I became rather attached to the deaf community. I started learning to sign at a very young age as my Nan would try and teach me and also I learnt just observing my Nan talking to people. Initially, it was just the most important signs for a young child to learn in order to communicate with his Nan, those signs weres . . . Sweets, Biscuits, Cake, Orange Squash, Pop, Football, Chocolate and that was about it. As I got older, I learnt a few more words to go along with the already crucial repertoire. Then I got to the stage as a teenager where I was pretty handy in holding my own in talking to anyone in the deaf community. However, as my grandparents got older, they couldn’t split the time between Walsall Deaf Club and Walsall Society for the Blind (who supported my Grandad) so they spent more time at the latter.

My love for the deaf community has always been strong due to all of that really. I’ve often tried to do little things in many ways to keep some link for myself. I also worked with the UK’s leading Deaf theatre company back in 2013 (I think) which was great and I managed to work with and meet some VERY talented actors which was very cool. As I have got older, I wanted to do a few of these daft things to raise money for charity’s that resonated and helped my grandparents and I started that in 2015. I did a big charity walk in aid of Walsall Society for the Blind, walking 146 miles in 7 days from Walsall to Wembley. I wanted to support them and thank them for helping my grandparents. Naturally, I wanted to do the same for Walsall Deaf Club but I couldn’t represent them in the London Marathon and also – they haven’t got back to me when I’ve tried to contact them (or even volunteer) so whatchagonnado?

When I decided on doing the Marathon I thought, I want to do and raise money for a worthwhile cause that resonates with me. I felt the National Deaf Children’s Society were perfect. They ticked the box of meeting the needs of the deaf community but they also support children & families and this is very important for me.

Alas, working as an actor constantly is rather rare so you always need to find other work. Well since around 2007, I have worked numerous capacities with children’s services in child protection teams, child in need teams, early intervention/early help teams, domestic abuse services and more across Walsall, Sandwell & Solihull. I have seen with my own eyes and ears, situations where families have been under significant strain due to having a child who is profoundly deaf, has hearing issues or a parent who is deaf or perhaps losing their hearing and there was very little in the way of support for them. This added onto my upbringing in the deaf community made the choice of representing the NDCS an absolutely perfect fit for me. They’re not only supporting but they’re cultivating the future of the deaf community and if I can help them like my grandparents didn’t get the help – then I know my Nan would very happy so that was the decision made.

They do some great work, touring schools and educating people because that is key – it really is. They support can be implemented directly to families and the such but also the wider world/community needs to understand the deaf world too and the NDCS can support that education. I won’t bang on about their amazing work but if you’d like to know more – please have a read on my ‘donate’ page, also go directly to their website or have a look at their social media pages on Facebook, Twitter & Instagram.

That is why I am so pleased to be part of #TeamNDCS and representing the National Deaf Children’s Society and I know that Violet (my Nan) would be super pleased and proud. Please – keep spreading the word, keep telling folk, keep donating, keep doing whatever. Whatever you do – it helps and its appreciated.

That’s that. I best crack on with trying to train. I am a tea time/night time runner (I am NOT a morning person) and as of this week I have now been told I have to start rehearsing until 8.30pm at least 3 times p/w and I go back to the Midlands from London on a Friday night and back to London on a Sunday night. Rather a busy bee. The sooner I move to Stratford Upon Avon, the better as at least my time will slowly free up ever so slightly!

Thanks all. I’m going to make like my pants and split. Toodle-oo (If you get that reference, I love you).

G. x

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