Welcome to DAD 2013
Hello and welcome to DAD 2013 our twenty-second annual event.
"The Show Must Go On', the title of a song made famous by Freddie Mercury and Queen, and I have always said that as long as there is the interest in Disability Awareness Day, we should make every effort to organise our annual event. During the past twenty one years of leading the organising team I have been utterly amazed at the energy that DAD creates each year, energy that is infectious to everyone who becomes involved, especially DAD's Army of volunteers who are deserving of their Queens Award for Voluntary Services. The DAD website enables us to reach out across the world, inspiring organisations like the "MESSAGE Institute' based in the Punjab in India, who after reading about our journey, followed our lead, holding their past two annual events on the same day as ours, and they are planning this year's event to coincide with ours again. We are also working with "Closing the Gap', a user led organisation based in Cameroon who are looking to hold their first event later this year. When one considers that we have already inspired events across the UK, Gibraltar, Sweden and Demark, DAD is undoubtedly a truly international event.
Members of the DAD Management Team have been working tirelessly for the past twelve months to plan this year's event, which I'm sure, will be a great day, supported by eleven events held during the week before Sunday's big day. But all this wouldn't have been possible if wasn't for the support of our sponsors and individual supporters, led this year by Brian Cronin, Chief Executive at Your Housing Group, our principal sponsor.
The run-up to this year's event has attracted local, regional and national media interest including ITV Granada News who provided fantastic coverage of the Going the Extra Mile Scuba Challenge which raised nearly £8,000. National interest has been led by The Guardian, with a supplement on disability which included an interview with me talking about DAD. Staying on the National theme, several highly recognised individuals are supporting this year's event. World Champions and Paralympians are supporting the Sports Zone, and the Performing Arts Marquee sees headline acts including Britain's Got Talent semi-finalists Urban Gypsies and BBC Autistic Super Stars Carly Ryan and Martin Finn.
I would like to thank Warrington Borough Council for the use of Walton Hall and Gardens, our sponsors and supporters for their financial contributions, our management team for their hard work, WDP Trustees for continuing to share and support the DAD dream, our volunteers, our exhibitors and of course you, our visitors. Finally, I hope you will agree that during the past twenty one years we have created Europe's, and possibly the World's largest voluntary led pan disability event which promotes a 'can do' culture focussing on 'what disabled people can do' throughout life and work.
I hope you have an informative and enjoyable day, thanks for coming.
Dave Thompson MBE DL MBA
*Sadly I would like to dedicate this year's event to the memories of Eddy Clements and Alan Martin.
We had some great feedback from our exhibitors, read a sample here
In the first year of DAD Dave and his son marked out the ground with a pot of paint and a handy tape measure. In 2013 our site team will consist of over 30 people many of whom will be using part of their annual leave to volunteer to set up this years show. Read the inspiring story of the event from the early days.
Warrington Camera Club, together with staff from the event organisers Warrington Disability Partnership, take lots of excellent photographs every year. Browse our galleries to get a real feel for the day. Are you in our galleries?
Have you ever thought how great it would be to have a Disability Awareness Day in your town? Click here for a fascinating toolkit on how to make it happen!
Photos used on this page: