Well it’s been a while since we last updated you lovely Peas & Glovers. Sorry it has been so long but this year has been pretty hectic.
Olly had a quiet start to the year but in the background his family and support team were making ambitious plans to bring him back to Jersey for a long weekend. It had been too long!! The original idea was to celebrate his birthday on April 1st. He had other ideas and a mild infection meant he couldn’t travel. We think he wanted warmer sunnier weather for his trips to Le Port and The Splash!
There was a lot of detail to sort out. He had to travel with a team of five to look after him 24/7. He had two members of staff from QEF (one for the day and one for the night). Then another three, two of whom were paid for by P&G. The third one had to travel on his own and bring Olly’s wheelchair. A bit strange seeking special assistance without anyone in the chair!! He certainly had some querying looks. Along with the whole travelling team, Olly stayed at Maison Des Landes, in St Ouen. What a fantastic team running the hotel and a great place to stay. ‘Team Olly’ were welcomed like old friends and the use of the hotel’s adapted pool everyday was a big bonus.
Over the few days Olly was back, we managed to fit in ice cream at La Saline and a gathering of (forty of his closest) friends at a farm in St Mary. The group included some children that ‘Uncle Olly’ had never met. During the farm visit we all wanted to say hello to the pigs who were across the field. The chair wouldn’t run on the newly laid grass so a plan was hatched. Everyone was involved in moving 8ft boards to create a moving walkway to get across the field. Two people each time moving six boards were continually carried from the back to the front with Olly moving across this ‘friends made’ roadway. True Peas & Glove can do spirit!!
Olly also had time near the beach at Le Port and The Splash, meeting lots of friends, many of whom hadn’t seen him since that dreadful day back in 2014. What a fantastic few days with Olly seeing, hearing and smelling the sea for the first time in quite a while. He seemed to enjoy every minute of what was an emotional and inspiring time.
Olly’s visit seems to gee on the organizers of Permanent Ollyday IV, which was a great success yet again. Daly was so confident about everything, for the first time it became a two day event, with Sunday sessions for those happy to sit out in the sun and drink beer (& coffee!!)
You all know how successful the new look two day festival was. The sun shone and thousands of people had a great day with some amazing music and all the other entertainment for young and old. Gypsy Unit went down a storm and expressed how touched they were by our inspiring story.
Since Permanent Ollyday IV in May this year (well done yet again Sir Daly!), there has been loads going on with fundraising and raising awareness. In particular to mention Caitlin Dias, Katie O’Shaughnessy, Gerry at The Splash and The Gallery Family. Jersey has seen P&G stalls at Reasons, Off The Hook, Gig-y-Don & The Weekender. During the Summer, Sir Daly and crew also took the message to the Boomtown Festival and dropped in on Olly both on the way there and the way back. Our sincere apologies if we have forgotten any one. Everyone plays a part no matter how big or small.
There have been some amazing individual efforts and donations that have made a big difference to our ability to provide and support essential therapies and equipment. One piece of kit was an electric motor that secures to the back of his manual chair giving invaluable assistance when getting him out and and about. ‘It has changed our lives’ – is a quote we have had a few times from his carers. Good to hear that all our efforts are so well received. The manual chair is used when Olly is being driven anywhere, with the first power chair bought by P&G being used when he is at the centre. Olly is also trialling some new ‘eye gaze’ technology that learns how he interacts with the screen and adapts to that. It is hoped this will be an important tool in improving his communication. All funded by Peas and Glove donations.
Since our last update, Peas & Glove has continued to support Olly’s weekly music therapy sessions with Dr Jonathan Pool from Chroma. All rehab is intense but he enjoys music so much it doesn’t seem like work to him. In addition we have used some funds to support weekly hydro therapy sessions at a nearby NHS pool with the hope to increase that to twice a week. Olly is always wide awake and alert during music and hydro. We all always felt that water and music would be key elements to his rehab and recovery.
Matt and Paul also recently attended a MIDAS driving course run by the Queen Elizabeth Foundation in the UK, and as fully fledged ‘volunteers’, they are now able to drive QEF vehicles and get Olly out and about, an especially welcome activity at weekends! On the subject of vehicles, this week, Peas & Glove is now involved in obtaining a van for Olly, a VW Caravelle Nevada. This particular vehicle has been chosen as it has a dropped floor (Olly is a tall guy at 6 foot 2!!) and in time can be configured to allow Olly to be ‘up front’ with the driver. It is hoped the van will allow even more freedom for Olly, his family and friends. It will also be very useful in getting Olly to external therapies and appointments rather than relying on specialist expensive taxis. The van will be coming back with him when he finally comes home. Most likely on the first trip, full of everything from his room at QEF!!
So in summary, it’s been quite a year and will continue to be for all of us. Your love and support always makes the difference and we will never forget or underestimate it.
Love, health and strength to you all.
Peas & Glove