Welcome to DAD 2013
Hello and welcome to DAD 2013 our twenty-second annual event.
During the past twenty one years of leading the organising team I have been amazed at the energy that DAD has created, energy that is infectious to everyone who becomes involved, including those who simply read about our journey on the internet. None more so than the MESSAGE Institute based in the Punjab in India, after reading about DAD they followed our lead and ran their first very successful event on the 10th July 2011 to coincide with our twentieth anniversary, making DAD a truly international event.
After 2012's event everyone asked 'how will you follow that', and after a royal visitor, RAF flyover, a delegation of government ministers from Thailand and most importantly 28,000 visitors, I must admit I did consider if we should call it a day, as I cannot describe how much mental energy it took to keep going, and to raise the required funds, especially during a recession that has resulted in funding cuts, contractual changes, reductions in corporate sponsorship and individual donations. It was an incredible emotional rollercoaster.
During the next six months after the event I had dozens of very encouraging conversations with visitors, exhibitors and supporters, but I was finally convinced to look ahead to our 21st anniversary when Brian Cronin, Chief Executive at Your Housing Group confirmed that they would be the principal sponsor for this year's event. That said, we have still had a few surprises during the build-up, thankfully we secured four new supporters, whilst a couple of long standing supporters were forced to pull out and another couple reduced their support, it really has kept us on my toes. On a positive note, during this time exhibitors continued to register their interest and we received visitor enquiries from across the UK.
Well the upshot is that together DAD's Army of volunteers have created Europe's largest voluntary led pan disability event which will help to highlight what is available under the umbrella of 'independent living'. We continue to provide a platform to enable small and large support groups, businesses and public sector organisations to work together promoting their services directly to the general public, and we will have played a part in helping to promote a 'can do' culture focussing on 'what disabled people can do' through our Sports and Arts Zones.
Finally, I'd like to thank our sponsors and supporters for their financial contributions, our management team for their hard work, WDP Trustees for their faith in our vision, our volunteers, our exhibitors and you, our visitors, I hope you have an informative and enjoyable day, thanks for coming.
Dave Thompson MBE DL
** I'd like to dedicate this year's event to the memory of June Clements, Jim Melville and Dave Connor. We miss them all.
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 2012 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: