Disability Awareness Day
Sunday 15th July 2018
Hello and welcome to DAD 2017 our twenty-sixth annual event.
WOW, our 26th Anniversary, this wasn’t in the plan when we set out on this journey back in 1991, DAD was supposed to have been just a one off event, but with the continuing encouragement of our visitors, exhibitors, sponsors, supporters including DAD’s Army of volunteers and growing worldwide interest, this has generated the energy and desire to carry on year after year.
My thanks start with Dr Naser Fouad and his wife Hala Fouad from St George Heathcare Group and St Mark Universal Copts Care, for their support as our joint principal sponsors, next it’s thanks to members of our DAD Management Team who have worked tirelessly for the past twelve months in preparation of this year’s event, which I’m sure, will be a great day.
This year’s DAD will be supported by ten complimentary events which started in the Town Centre on Saturday 8th and moved to Walton Hall and Gardens on Tuesday 11th for a fun packed and informative week. All of which wouldn’t have been possible if wasn’t for the support of our partners and a great team, both on site and in the office.
I have had the pleasure of leading the DAD team for the past twenty-six years, and I continue to be inspired by our volunteers who are led by our Head Steward, who I’m proud to say is my son Gavin, who has been involved since he was 12 years old. We often recall arriving at Walton Gardens at 7.30am to setup for our first event, a 6ft tape measure, a 2ins paint brush, half a gallon of white emulsion paint and a note pad list of exhibitors were our tools. By the time our exhibitors arrived we were both covered in paint and totally confused. On reflection todays event has involved dozens of volunteers working throughout the week, which is one of the reasons DAD’s Army are deserving of their Queens Award for Voluntary Services.
DAD Warrington continues to inspire events around the world, this year’s partners including the ‘MESSAGE Institute’ from India, ‘Closing the Gap’ a user led organisation in Cameroon, ‘St Mark Universal Copts Care’ working in Egypt and Sudan, and the ‘Centre for Disability and Rehabilitation’ in Uganda.
I hope you will agree that during the past twenty-five years we have created, what has become, the world’s largest voluntary led pan disability event which promotes a 'can do' culture focussing on 'what disabled people can do' which helps to dispels the myths about what disabled people can’t do. Looking ahead, discussions held with old and new sponsors during the next five months will influence the future shape and size of DAD. If you or your organisation can help, please contact me.
Finally, I would like to thank Warrington Borough Council for the continuing use of Walton Hall and Gardens, all of our sponsors and supporters for their financial and in-kind contributions, our management team for their continuing hard work, WDP Trustees for continuing to share and support the DAD dream, our volunteers, our exhibitors and of course you, our visitors.
Dave Thompson MBE DL MBA
Founder and Event Co-ordinator