The British Polio Fellowship
Worthing & Sussex Branch
Registered Charity no. 1108335

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Super Forum Reading 19th September 2009

This years forum was held at the brand spanking new Hilton Hotel in Reading.

The forum itself was split into various segments, Speeches in the morning, lunch, followed by a workshops in the afternoon and closing with a thank you talk and raffle. 

The morning started with introductions from the Chair followed by a couple of very interesting talks, one from Dr Mark Edworthy - a polio survivor who finding his house more and more difficult to get around demolished it in favour of a new modern house more suitable to his needs. 

Then a talk by Dr Robin Luff about everyone’s favourite topic, - the late effects of polio, especially as most of us are approaching that time of life when mobility and muscle strength becomes more of a concern and I must admit I felt a little more positive after his speech, as I am also feeling the strength gradually sap away from what was my good leg, c’est la vie. 

Whilst seated, the Chairman Pam Jones called the AGM which was actually quite quick and painless and with very little change the AGM was finished inside half an hour or so. Then the highlight for us - the presentations. This year was a special year for the fellowship celebrating its 70th anniversary, and there were to be special presentations indeed. The main award was for “Outstanding contribution to the fellowship” and this was presented to Bob and Barbara Stephens (my Mum and Dad). They were presented with this, the BPF's highest award, fantastic, I am so proud of them and pleased to have been there to see this justly deserved award being presented to them and I am sure all members of the branch and region send them many many congratulations, not only for the award but for their continuing hard work over the past four decades for the Worthing branch. 

After that momentous occasion lunch was served.

In the afternoon there were a number of workshops, basically a discussion forum on various related subjects, the workshops on offer were Weight Management, Orthotics, Carers and Complementary Therapy. 
I chose Weight management, but the person hosting our forum was absolutely hopeless, as you know I always try to see the best in people, always the optimist, but the person taking our workshop had done absolutely no preparation on the subject or the people she was going to be addressing at all, it was embarrassing to be in the room with her, her only message is that the western diet was bad for the spleen and that we all had unhealthy spleens, and told us the virtues of the Chinese diet, but were never told what it was, what to do, and what we as people with all levels of disability could do to help ourselves, sorry but for that part 0/10.

After that we had a bit of free time and so we looked around the hotel and came to the climbing wall, stunned we looked up and saw our good friend Pam Gavan getting ready to hoist herself up the wall. Fantastic, see pictures below.

Later with more coffee and tea the forum was concluded with a few thank yous’ from Pam Jones and the raffle was drawn.

Overall feelings of the event were very positive, plenty of space to mix and mingle, interesting talks and number of good related stalls around the hall, lovely healthy food, the hotel staff 100% helpful and all very polite and courteous and the hotel very easy to find with ample parking in the underground car park. Workshops I have already mentioned but overall a good day indeed, many thanks to all the organizers. 


The Hilton Hotel Reading
  All seated and ready for the forum.
Bob Pam and Robin Luff
 Host Bob Stephens, Dr Robin Luff and the National Chairman Pam Jones
 Chief Executive Graham Ball
Host Bob Stephens
Bob and Barbara Stephens being presented with the 
"Outstanding Contribution to the fellowship" award
The Award
Helen Grey Helper of the last 70 years
The Stephens party, Bob, Barbara, Karen, Karen and Robin
Pam Gavan gets ready for her climb
She hauls herself up
Congratulations, she makes it
Betty on the card stall, with Karen buying
I also found Janet and Roger enjoying the chocolate fountain
The BPF 70th anniversary cake.
Miss Olive Clark MBE cut the cake