December 2016 saw the Foundation go ‘live’. We were delighted that 200 guests joined us at Ashford School to mark the beginning of this charity. Bubbles and canapes allowed the guests to look at work from Oily cart and to talk to the trustees of the foundation. Below are the two speeches that were read at the launch.
Speech by Claire Miller (Margot’s Mother) December, Father Christmas, Stockings , Christingles, carol services, nativity plays, snow, sledging, turkey, Christmas puddings, ridiculous family games and Amelia’s utter excitement of finding her Elf every morning. So many of us, including myself, adore this month. Waiting 11 months for its return each year.
But for Alex and me December has other memories. In 2007 on Christmas day Margot was born. In 2012 on 28th December Margot was diagnosed with her very first serious bout of pneumonia and we were told she would not make it to the New Year. She did. On 20th December 2015 Margot lost her three-year battle with ongoing infections and died. That is OUR other December.
When we picked the date to Launch the Margot Florence Foundation we didn’t consider the 22 office parties, the 18 Christmas concerts in Kent and of course Uncle Richard’s birthday.
What we did consider was bringing new meaning to our OTHER December. A meaning of hope and change – to make December about the beginning of a Foundation that was inspired by a little child desperate to partake in life and that is why we are all here tonight. To all of you standing here we thank you for your support and hope that over the next half an hour you will understand how the Margot Florence Foundation has come about and what it will hope to achieve.
Kent CC produced a working strategy document for 2014-2016 for the educational rights of children. Within this report the following was identified: “Gaps in educational achievement and progress for children and young people with special educational needs and who are disabled.” But, there are 22,961 disabled children in Kent between the ages of 0-18. 209 of these children attend Margot’s School in Ashford, Wyvern. These children need our support.
Yes, there are Charities that offer support. Yes there are charities that embrace music therapy. Yes there are NHS organisations. BUT none encompass the principle of offering parents/careers and professionals the right to learn how to engage in best practice for disabled children. We will do this. We will work with artists from around the world and we will build a programme of opportunities for these children.
Our ambition is simple. We want to make the Folkestone, Ashford, Canterbury area a beacon of excellence in disability and inclusive arts, offering all children the dignity and joy that engagement in the arts can provide for them and their families.
Our aims are simple:
SUPPORT for artists already engaging in this area
DEVELOPMENT AND TRAINING for those who would like to engage
MODELS OF BEST PRACTICE, through the facilitation of visits from artists and companies already engaging in this area both within the UK and internationally.
There is a governing trustee body consisting of Alexandra Radcliffe, Matthew Alexander, John Curry, Maggie Radcliffe and myself. The trustees will ensure that the foundation stays true to its constitution.
There is also a committee. Alex, Zoe, Georgina, Alix, Charlie, Krystnya, Jez and Kelly. They will make this charity succeed and bring to table a wealth of experience.
This foundation is happening because of you, because of your overwhelming generosity in donations.
This WILL change families lives and as Alex said, Margot’s spirit will live on.
I will close with a quote we were sent from an unknown author “The mention of my child’s name may bring tears to my eyes, but it never fails to bring music to my ears. If you are really my friend, let me hear the beautiful music of her name. It soothes my broken heart and sings to my soul.”
Thank you all so much.