A Christmas Carol 2022 – Flying Pickle talk to 21&Co

Tatty Bowman and Sam Devereaux

Flying Pickle and 21&Co are working together this Christmas to make a difference for families living with Down’s Syndrome

Since the birth of our daughter, (and original Flying Pickle) Leia, Georgie and I have been closely connected to 21&Co. This wonderful local charity has provided incredible support and friendship. Navigating parenthood with a child who lives with Down’s Syndrome is daunting at times to say the least. The team at 21&Co welcomed us into their group as one of more than 250 local families and we can never thank them enough for their generosity, guidance and compassion.

21&Co – Enhancing the lives of children with Down’s syndrome and their families

“21&Co is a registered charity run by parents, offering help and support to children with Down’s syndrome and their families in South West London, Surrey and surrounding areas.

Finding out that your child has Down’s syndrome can be a shock. More often than not, the best emotional support comes from meeting other families with children with Down’s syndrome and sharing their experiences. Having the support of other parents and carers will help you learn about Down’s syndrome and what having a child with Down’s syndrome will mean for your family.

That’s why we formed 21&Co – to help children with Down’s syndrome but also their parents, brothers and sisters, grandparents and other family members and friends.

We work hard to promote the opportunities open to children with Down’s syndrome, provide early development resources like social communication therapy and increase awareness, acceptance and understanding of Down’s syndrome in the local community.

Our families meet regularly to share their stories and to give each other advice, support and friendship, while the children have fun and build their confidence in a stimulating environment.” – 21&Co Website

Sam Speaks to Tatty Bowman – 21&Co Co-Chair

This sort of local support network is vital for parents of children with Down’s syndrome. Especially so as there are still a disappointing number of trained medical professionals with seriously out of date ideas about what life with Down’s Syndrome is actually like.

Georgie and I feel so strongly about 21&Co’s work that we decided to stage a solo-show version of A Christmas Carol to help raise money for them (we are also raising money for the national charity and owner of the Normansfield Theatre, Down’s syndrome Association.)

During a recent video promo video shoot for the show, we were joined on stage by Tatty Bowman, co-chair of 21&Co. Tatty is a great friend to us and the whole Down’s syndrome community in South West London. Her son George, who has a dual-diagnosis of Down’s syndrome and ASD, is a wonderful young man. We were happy to take a break and chat to Tatty about what 21&Co means to her.

SAM: So, Tatty, why is 21&Co important, what’s it all about?

TATTY: 21&Co is very passionate to me. I absolutely love this charity. It’s been running since 2002 and we look after local families who have a child with Down’s Syndrome. We start right at the beginning. Prenatally we’re there if they need us. We can be called by the hospital, or the family.

We envelope them in support and then we take them through the years. We have stay and play for the babies. We have speech and language therapy all the way up to age 8. We have drama club, we have youth club. We have family events at the weekend.

The ‘and co’ of 21&Co means the whole family, and I mean extended family. We’re there until they’re in their early 20s and they’ve got a life to live and they don’t need us anymore.

SAM: So, complete support in other words.

TATTY: Complete support.

SAM: For the children themselves and their families.

TATTY: And don’t forget, that 21&Co is run completely by people who, like me, ahem children with Down’s Syndrome ourselves. So, we couldn’t understand better what these families are going through.

SAM: Absolutely! And I can say from personal experience, myself and Georgie, with our daughter Leia, that we have benefitted and enjoyed and loved being part of 21&Co. That’s why we’re doing this production of A Christmas Carol on 17th December. And everything we are making from this show will be going to the charity to support their work. Thank you Tatty, I’m really glad you happened to chance upon our filming session this morning.

TATTY: I’m very happy that I walked through the theatre today on my way to teach speech and language to the children. Thank you very much from the 250 or so families we look after. And good luck!

SAM: Thank you! We look forward to entertaining you all on the 17th December.

TATTY: I’ll be there.

Join us for A Christmas Carol at The Normansfield Theatre on Saturday 17th December

Flying Pickle Performing Arts’ production of A Christmas Carol is taking place on Saturday 17th December 2022. The show is a solo storytelling version of the classic story performed by Sam Devereaux. The venue is the Normansfield Theatre (part of the Langdon Down Centre) in Teddington.

There are 2 shows, 3PM and 8PM. Tickets are priced at £21.50 with all proceeds going to 21&Co and the proceeds from the bar going to Down’s syndrome Association.

The 3PM show is a special relaxed version of the show. The lighting and sound effects will be less intense and the seating will be set out to accommodate extra wheelchairs, mobility buggies or alternative seating. This performance will be especially appropriate for audiences with physical disabilities or sensory processing differences.

The content of the show is the same at both performances. The show is entirely family friendly and accessible to children over the age of 5.

You can book your tickets by clicking here.

If you have any questions about the production you can contact us using the button below. Or if you wish to contact 21&Co to find out more about what they do for families living with Down’s Syndrome your can click here.