David has a wonderful family. His wife Jo is the driving force behind ensuring the three children Lucy-Anne, Charlotte and Jamie are healthily fed, well educated and socialized and generally delightfully confident and loving offspring. David looks after them when Jo is out, not just for family requirements, but cycling and hill-walking (now with the children!) and doing, what appears to others, to be a million other things. She is determined that they all enjoy an action filled and socially full life as possible regardless of his disability. David, not to be outdone, always having been an avid sportsman himself, is involved in tandem cycling (having taken part in half-marathons), hill-walking (managing the occasional ‘Monroe”), and is now also involved in indoor rowing competitions. This year he was nominated to carry an Olympic flame.
David set-up and runs his own IT company to train blind and visually impaired individuals how to use a computer using specialist software and was awarded the accolade of IT trainer in 2008. He and Jo travel a lot, sometimes together and sometimes with friends. He particularly enjoyed his trip to Australia for the rugby and some deep sea fishing. When visiting them you are left with the feeling of warmth and mutual support, activity and involvement.
David is blind, has only one hand and has a hearing impairment in one ear. He suffered these injuries when a bomb, left on the bonnet of his car, blew up in his face 11 years ago. Jo and their baby were in that car but were mercifully unhurt. When he writes, his letters are details of the myriad of activities they and the children are involved in and are always so full of optimism but most of all are filled with David’s indomitable wry humour.
Charlie left home and made his life in Kitzbuehel, Austria. He became an avid skier, extreme sports enthusiast and life and soul of the group in his wide-ranging social life and network of friends.
Charlie fell with his para-glider and suffered irreparable injury to his spine. His family wanted him to come home so they could look after him but he chose to remain in Austria with his friends. He comes home for family occasions and his arrival and presence will ensure any gathering has an extremely enjoyable time. Wheelchair races down a hotel corridor at one in the morning. Auntie Joan, aged 76, coming second, with the expert, Charlie, in first place. Do you know how to play ‘spin the bottle’ on the wheels of a turned over wheel chair? Great fun!
From his home, Charlie does some English tuition and translation work for local businesses and websites. He has paraplegia and uses a wheelchair. At least some of the time! Apart from swimming in the Kitzbuehel lakes, he is also able to take to the mountains in the winter with a special mono ski and has been surfing in the sea off Portugal. His latest sport for this summer is handbiking, which will see him touring the local valleys with visiting paraplegic athletes.
Last year he went skiing with his brother who had gone over to visit him.
His brother is David.
They are my nephews.
Chrissie Taylor – for The Disabled Access Campaign
A messages from David
‘I always believe that you should never take yourself seriously and not to be over sensitive when people say things like “did you see that programme on TV last night”. If you do, people will be far more comfortable and natural with you. For example, last summer I used my long cane to make my way round to the pub, just a few minutes’ walk from my house. I managed to take a wrong turn and had my friends, who were at the pub for a quiet drink, searching the roads for me. I was eventually picked up by a pretty blonde girl in a convertible and driven back to the pub where my friends were all fairly hot and flustered. I bought several rounds of drinks to make it up to them and had the mick taken out of me all night! Rather than feel sorry for me, they humanized my mistake. It made me feel normal rather than inadequate.
We are a normal family and disability is normal place. The children seem not to be affected by it or to hide the fact from their friends at school, on the contrary, they seem quite proud about the fact!
Always do your best to accommodate someone with a disability, but don’t go so far that they feel patronized or almost “positively discriminated” against because of how they are.’
David Brown (2012)
A messages from Charlie
‘I think that the most notable impression I leave is coping in a non-wheelchair friendly environment, zipping around the area on a quad-bike with a wheelchair strapped on the back and a dog on my lap.
My quality of life is paramount - you don't have to be rich to live like a king. I breathe clean air, drink spring water from the tap and eat healthy local produce. It's no wonder I came up smiling!’
Charlie Brown (2012)